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Mary Lou McDonald at Dublin Castle today Leah Farrell via
do over

McDonald says SF would 'return to' issue of sexist language in Constitution if in power

The party leader accused the government of going on a “solo run” with the Yes Yes campaign.

MARY LOU MCDONALD has said Sinn Fein will “return to” considerations of the “sexist language” in the Constitution if the party is in the next government.

The Sinn Féin leader has said that the current government’s position is no longer tenable due to the way it handled the family and care referendums.

Speaking at the count centre in Dublin Castle, where the results will be announced, McDonald accused the government of going on a “solo run” with the Yes Yes campaign.

Not all votes have been counted yet, but tallies have strongly pointed to a No No vote.

McDonald also said there is “no question” of running the referendums again with the same wording because the public has spoken. However, she said the responsibility is with the next government to “vindicate” the rights of carers and disabled people.

Sinn Féin had previously said that if they were rejected, the party would rerun the referendums with the wording recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly. 

Asked if Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman should step down, McDonald said: “I think all of them should step down.” 

The Sinn Féin leader was heckled by a small group of protesters as she spoke to reporters in the courtyard of Dublin Castle. She moved the press event inside and continued to take questions there.

“We don’t have numbers out, but it seems to be fairly clear cut,” she said.

“[The government] failed to collaborate in any way, and they also failed to convince the electorate.

McDonald denied being out of touch with her party’s “grassroots” after advocating for a Yes Yes vote, like the government.

She said the government “had come up short” in terms of wording on the care referendum, meaning people were left with “an unbalanced decision to make”.

Limerick Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan called for Minister O’Gorman’s resignation.

Speaking in Limerick today as indications were that the country had rejected the government and Yes side, Deputy Quinlivan said: “This has been a catastrophic failure by government who, in their arrogance, listened to nobody.

“There was no prelegislative scrutiny, even though Sinn Féin and others requested this and the Children’s Committee was willing to sit for as long as it took.”

“The government arrogantly pressed on without clarifying issues that they knew would cause problems.”

Earlier, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said the party fully accepts the result and respects the views of the public.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Saturday with Colm Ó Mongain, he said the “primary responsibility for the failure of both referendums lies with Government”.

He said it became clear in recent days that the Care amendment was going to be defeated significantly, and agreed there was much confusion around the proposed wording of the Family amendment and ‘durable relationships’.

With reporting by David Raleigh and Christina Finn

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