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Mary Lou says Alan Kelly has her 'quaking in her stilettos'

Meanwhile, a Syrizan minister got TWO standing ovations at Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis.

Updated: 1.08pm 

SINN FÉIN DEPUTY leader Mary Lou McDonald gave a rousing speech at day two of the party’s Ard Fheis, reiterating the fact she would debate the Tánaiste “anywhere, any time”.

Joan Burton challenged me to a debate, both Vincent Browne and RTÉ offered to facilitate the debate, but Joan has changed her mind. Well Joan, you know where to find me!

Sinn Fein Political Reforms Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

McDonald also had a message for Environment Minister Alan Kelly:

Joan’s number two, Alan Kelly, has vowed to rip us apart. We are quaking in our stilettos, I’m sure.

McDonald insisted that, if in power, Sinn Féin would remove water charges and the local property tax.

We are preparing for government. We are ready for the challenge. We are ready to deliver.

She said that the party would aim high for “all of us, women and men, young and old, travellers and settled, people with disabilities, black and white, orange and green”.

MEP Matt Carthy said that it is “now clear to almost everybody that following the next Leinster House elections that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will be together”.

The only question remaining is whether they’ll be together in government or in opposition. Our job is to make sure that it’s in opposition.

Greece

Earlier, Syriza’s deputy foreign minister received a standing ovation at the event – both before and after his speech.

Screenshot 2015-03-07 at 12.07.29 Euclid Tsakalotos Source: Twitter

Euclid Tsakalotos said that Greece is not asking for “special treatment” in terms of its debt restructuring, rather “equal treatment in a Europe of equals”.

Tsakalotos said solidarity is needed among European countries in order for change to take place.

He told delegates that certain governments are afraid of the change proposed by groups like Syriza and Sinn Féin.

In a nod to former US President Franklin D Roosevelt, Tsakalotos said people in Europe have “nothing to fear but fear itself”.

In a light moment at the start of his speech, Tsakalotos apologised for his English accent, telling delegates: “By a mitigating factor, I am married to a Celt.”

Tsakalotos’s had the somewhat unenviable task of following Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan – who got the most cheers of the conference so far.

Water charges

Boylan said Fine Gael and Labour’s budgets have “systematically targetted those who could afford it least”. She also accused the government of failing to “stand up” for the country’s people, unlike Syriza. 

European Elections Counts Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The MEP described water charges as the “ultimate insult” and said the fact protesters were jailed shows the government will not accept any form of dissent.

This government is like water charges: Nothing but an unfair and unjust and unwanted imposition on the people of Ireland.

Same-sex marriage

South County Dublin Mayor Fintan Warfield made an emotional call for people to support May’s same-sex marriage referendum, saying people should be allowed to marry the person they love.

I understand what it feels like to be unequal, I understand what it feels like to be beaten up for being gay.

Sinn Fein Gay Lesbian Referendums Fintan Warfield Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Sinéad Murray from Donegal Youth Service said the referendum is “fundamentally about equality”.

“Unfortunately same sex couples are treated as second class citizens in our country. But we now have a chance to change that, you have a chance to change our country for the better.”

It’s time to give love that is equal and equal right. You will be able to stand in front of your children and future grandchildren and look them in the eye and tell them that you played your part in making history in this great country of ours.

“This will send a clear message to the rest of the world that this is a country that embraces diversity and equality.  A country that our young LGBT people will have a future in.  A country that I would be immensely proud to be a part of,” Murray said.

Aer Lingus

Earlier today, the party’s transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis had one message for IAG: Hands off Aer Lingus.

Sinn Fein Against Bank Bailouts Dessie Ellis Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Ellis told delegates Ireland needs Aer Lingus’s slots at Heathrow, as well as the jobs provided by the airline.

[Willie Walsh] will say anything and do anything to get these slots and Ireland will suffer for it if we sell them to him. Even the CEO of Aer Lingus when trying to downplay the value of the slots admitted they were at the very least worth more than a third of what IAG were offering for the entire company.

“Sinn Féin remains utterly opposed to the sale of the state share in Aer Lingus. If in government we would do everything in our power to retain these slots indefinitely, to protect jobs in Aer Lingus and to resist a sell off,” Ellis said to a round of applause.

Follow @orlaryan and @TJ_Politics for updates  from the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry this weekend.

Originally published: 12.08

Read: Sinn Féin wants Mary Lou to be Taoiseach and people to not ‘throw around’ the Irish flag

Analysis: Is Sinn Féin ready for power?

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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