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McDonald travelling to New York for Irish Unity summit, says party fundraising not part of trip

McDonald says she doesn’t do ‘oh begorrah’ or ‘paddywhackery’ in any shape or form.

MARY LOU MCDONALD is to take part in an Irish Unity summit in New York next month but denies there will be any party fundraising on the trip. 

The Sinn Féin leader will travel to the United States early in the month, before returning stateside for St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC later in March. 

McDonald, along with the Taoiseach, have faced criticism over their planned trips to the White House, given the support the US is giving Israel. 

When questioned by The Journal if the trip to New York next week, prior to her trip to the White House, is taking place so as to have a clear divide between the delicate path Irish politicians will have to walk when it comes to speaking about Gaza and all that goes along with the St Patrick’s events in Washington, such as the shamrock presentation, McDonald said: 

“I don’t do ‘oh begorrah’ or ‘paddywhackery’ in any shape or form. What I do is engage with the huge community of Irish people and friends of Ireland and America…

“I’m going to the States to do a number of things, including an Irish unity Summit, which will be held from Cooper’s Hall. It’s going to be a huge crowd. It’s a really, really interesting panel actually, and it’s, I think, further evidence of this conversation of change, constitutional change, which is happening domestically but also internationally,” she said. 

McDonald said this month that she believes a referendum on Irish unity will take place “in this decade”.

When asked if there will be any party fundraising on her trip, McDonald said “no, there is not”.  

“By the way, our trips to the United States and St. Patrick’s are not fundraising events, just to be clear. I have heard commentary, and that’s just not the case,” she said.

McDonald told The Journal that she understands why some have concerns about politicians travelling to the White House when the US is supplying arms to Israel.

However, she said the access that Ireland has is “very, very valuable to this country”. 

Though she said people have heard this said a million times, she believed it is worth repeating.

Some of the interventions the United States have done have been “very, very positive”, such as the peace process, said McDonald.

More recently, with Brexit, America showed the power the US has in balancing things “in a way that is fair to Ireland”.  

‘Keeping conversations going’

“I think people in the midst of everything, we need to remember that the United States while wrong on many, many other things, most notably and historically on the question of Palestine and the impunity of Israel, nonetheless, has been right on the issue of Ireland, and it’s very important that we keep that conversation going,” she said. 

“I fully understand people’s feeling around St. Patrick’s Day happening at a time when there is slaughter in Palestine and the United States not acting in the way that it could and that it should, in my opinion. The United States should not be funding or arming an Israeli onslaught against the Palestinians. That’s my position. That’s our position. That’s the position I think of the Irish people,” she added. 

She said this is the message she hopes the Taoiseach brings to Washington next month.

“I would be really disappointed if the Taoiseach was not absolutely clear in his private utterances, but also what he says publicly, as regards what’s happening in Palestine,” she added.

“I wake up each morning, hoping that I’m going to hear that we now have a ceasefire. That’s an absolute priority at this point in time, but the event in any event in New York has been a long time in the planning so I will travel over for that, and also go to the UN.

“I’m going to meet the Palestinian ambassador to the UN and some other people,” she added. 

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