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Criticism

'It was misogynistic': Government leaders hit out at cartoon depicting Mary Lou McDonald as a witch

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Green Party leader jointly condemned the drawing.

THE HEADS OF the three Government parties have jointly condemned a cartoon that appeared in a newspaper depicting opposition leader Mary Lou McDonald as a witch.

The cartoon, which featured in the Sunday Independent two days ago, appeared beside a column accusing the Sinn Féin leader of engaging in a “witch hunt” over the garda investigation into the Tánaiste’s leaking of a draft government agreement with GPs.

It branded “deeply sexist” by the National Womens’ Council of Ireland (NCWI) yesterday and was also criticised by a number of politicians following its publication.

Asked about the cartoon at a press conference earlier today, the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party all criticised the sketch individually.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin indicated that the drawing sent out the wrong message to women who worked in or wanted to enter politics, saying he did not agree with the depiction of McDonald.

“I don’t approve of that kind of characterisation of women in politics,” he said.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar echoed the Fianna Fáil leader’s remarks, and described the cartoon as “sexist” and “wrong”.

“I think it was misogynistic, and I was surprised that it got published quite frankly,” he said.

“It’s not the first time that a female politician has been characterised as a witch and I hope it’s going to be the last, given the controversy around it. That’s just not the way things should be in politics.”

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan noted that the cartoon was “deeply disrespectful and hurtful” and called for greater respect for women in politics.

“I think the current climate dissuades a lot of people, particularly a lot of women, from going into politics. It has to change,” he said.

McDonald herself previously responded to the image on Sunday, tweeting: “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn – Deal with it #womenpower.”

Contains reporting by Rónán Duffy.

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