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War of Words

'The British don't care that every strand of the Good Friday Agreement is undermined by Brexit'

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party want to be in government on both sides of the border.

PAC REPORT 758A7140_90518251 Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

SINN FÉIN’S DEPUTY leader Mary Lou McDonald has said that Britain does not care that “every strand of the Good Friday Agreement is undermined by Brexit”.

In a speech made at the John F Kennedy Summer School in New Ross, County Wexford, McDonald said Ireland desperately needs to change course.

Let’s be crystal clear. Brexit is not compatible with the Good Friday agreement. It is as simple and stark as that.
Every strand of the Good Friday Agreement is undermined by Brexit. The EU know that. The Irish government know that. The British government know that, but British government just do not care. And that is the problem. They can impose this against the will of the people and the best interests of our nation.

Earlier this week, Britain was warned off using Ireland as a “test case” for how Brexit will work with the EU.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had stern words for the British, stating that the “onus to propose solutions which overcome the challenges created on the island of Ireland… remains with the United Kingdom”.

The UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations. This will not happen.

McDonald said today that the economic and social life of Ireland is threatened by Brexit, adding:

That’s the reality and import of Brexit for the people of this island. Ireland desperately needs a change of course. The people need a government that’s on their side.

Being in government 

The Dublin Central TD, who is tipped to be the next leader of the Sinn Féin when Gerry Adams steps down, said that her party want to be in government.

Sinn Féin wants to be in government – north and south.
We will fight the next election on that basis. Of course we can only be part of a government if we have a sufficient, mandate from the people.

Sinn Féin away day Sinn Fein Party President Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly Michelle O'Neill, and Mary Lou McDonald TD. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Hitting out against Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, McDonald said both parties were guilty of “arrogant posturing”.

“They say Sinn Féin will not be in government, is not ‘fit for’ government. We say that will be the people’s decision,” she said.

She said the current confidence and supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is not working, stating that it is “designed to serve the interests of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil”.

“It does not answer the needs of the people; it does not serve the public interest”.

She claimed that both parties have “created and perpetuated” a housing and homeless crisis, and criticised the solutions that have been put forward to date.

Decades of bad public housing policy are coming home to roost, that’s the crux of the crisis before us today. Responsibility for housing was handed over to the bankers, developers, landlords and vulture funds. They each took a slice and we all paid the price.
Bewilderingly Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are still looking for a market solution to a problem rooted in and sustained by the market. It is as if no one is to blame, no one is held to account and still no real change in policy.
There is a solution, and it’s not rocket science. Enable local authorities’ to build significantly more social and affordable homes.

Read: Varadkar says we don’t always hear the ‘full stories’ when it comes to homelessness>

Read: Fine Gael councillor to face disciplinary hearing over comments about Islam>

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