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Mary Lou says letter to Leo is on the way after Taoiseach accused SF of snubbing talks offer

McDonald says she will return to the Dail on Thursday.

Image: Sam Boal

SINN FÉIN’S MARY Lou McDonald has said a response to Leo Varadkar’s text and letter is on the way over to him. 

At a press conference today, the Taoiseach accused Sinn Fein of snubbing his offer for post-election talks.

Varadkar told reporters he had written to the party last week to make the offer of holding discussions, but he had received no reply.

The Fine Gael leader made clear his party was still not countenancing entering government with Sinn Fein, but said he had been willing to hold broader discussions with the party on the political landscape.

“What I’ve said for the past two or three weeks is that we won’t form a government with Sinn Fein but we’re not refusing to speak to anyone,” he said after today’s Cabinet meeting.

“And we’ve spoken to Sinn Fein on many matters in the past in relation to lots of different issues and do so regularly.

“So we said we are willing to speak to any party but not about the formation of a government. We’re not doing that at the moment. And I wrote to Sinn Fein last week to confirm that applied to them as well. But we’ve had no reply from them,” he said. 

Speaking on RTE’s Drivetime, McDonald confirmed that the Taoiseach had been in touch twice in recent days.

“He texted, then he wrote to me,” she said.

McDonald said she had a response ready to go over to the Taoiseach.

“Actually I have a letter drafted back to the Taoiseach but I got caught by surprise in the last couple of days. I have the letter and I can assure the acting Taoiseach over the airwaves that that letter is on its way to him,” she said. 

McDonald was forced to postpone a number of Sinn Féin meetings and stay home to home with her children after a coronavirus case was confirmed at their school.

In a video message yesterday, McDonald said she was following all of the chief medical officer’s advice and therefore the children have to be at home for the next 14 days.

“This is a worrying time for families and for the staff at the school, particularly for the family of the person affected and we wish them a very, very speedy recovery.”

Today, McDonald confirmed that she will attend Thursday’s Dáil session.

“My children are well and I have been advised there is no reason for me to stay away.

“I’m very cautious when it comes to things like this, I won’t do anything that poses difficulty or puts anyone in jeopardy. I’m very much one to err on side of caution,” she said.

McDonald said her children have been left “a bit shook” after being kept at home.

She said:

“They’re just kids and concerned that a person that they know has contracted this virus. They want to know the person makes a speedy recovery and frustrated that we have to keep them at home.”

With reporting by Press Association

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