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Tuesday 21 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Northern Ireland
McDonald says DUP would be 'foolish' not to return to Stormont for Biden visit
The Sinn Féin leader said she was hopeful the DUP would ‘do the right thing’ and agree to the terms of the Windsor Framework.

SINN FÉIN LEADER Mary Lou McDonald has said that it would be a “lost opportunity” if the DUP don’t agree to the Windsor Framework and return to powersharing at Stormont by the time US President Joe Biden visits Ireland next month.

Speaking on On the Record with Gavan Reilly, McDonald was asked if it would “put a dampener” on Biden’s visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement if the DUP hadn’t returned to Stormont.

“Yes it would, it would be an incredibly foolish lost opportunity. And the eyes of the world are on the north of Ireland, there is huge international goodwill, a huge appetite for progress,” she said.

“Everybody wants to make progress. So why would you blow that? Why would you pass that opportunity by? So I’m hopeful that the DUP, Jeffrey Donaldson and his colleagues, will do the right thing.”

McDonald, Michelle O’Neill and the leaders of the other four largest parties in Northern Ireland are currently in Washington DC meeting with US politicians.

When asked if devolution at Stormont would be over if the DUP don’t agree to the terms of the Windsor Framework, McDonald said that she refuses “to be anything other than optimistic”.

“The reality is that we have to share power. The reality is, we all live together on a small island. So I would urge again, that the DUP seek their clarity, that’s entirely reasonable, but let’s get the assembly back up and running. And let’s get Michelle O’Neill back in leading that executive.”

McDonald added that there was no room for negotiation on the framework and that both her and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were “on the same page” during their engagements in Washington DC.

“This is Team Ireland. This is this is about the national good. It’s about what’s right for the country. It’s very important for us to maintain very strong international relationships. And of course, political leaders from across all persuasions will be united in that.”

McDonald added that Sinn Féin’s proposed motion in the Dáil next Tuesday to extend the eviction ban, which is due to end on 1 April, is “more than just theatrics”.

“For the life of me I cannot fathom how or why the government is proceeding in this way,” McDonald said.

“It’s very clear now that local authorities don’t have emergency capacity, the Residential Tenancies Board has given us the figures for the last three months of last year, there were almost 5000 Notices to Quit.”

“And nobody in government can answer the simple question that we have asked repeatedly. Where do these families go? There is no answer to that.”

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