Tag Archives: Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald addressing the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if the State pandemic employment payments would be extended in June, following ‘ominous’ comments made yesterday by Minister For Finance Paschal Donohoe yesterday.

Ms McDonald said cutting or tapering off these would be “wrong” and said even the idea being floated suggests that Fine Gael is “out of touch” with the lives of workers and families and those bearing the burnt of this “economic shock”.

She also added that “in the last economic crisis”, FG and FF “chose to protect the banks and the wealthy”, “that you chose to punish ordinary workers and families instead” and “they lived with the minimum wage being slashed” and “numerous cuts to child benefit”.

She referred the moves to “slash and burn policies aimed to service a debt that did not belong to the people“.

During his response,, Mr Varadkar said the payments would need to continue until people can return to their jobs and, for the vast majority of people, returning to work won’t happen by June.

“So yes, it will need to be extended beyond mid-June,” he said.

He then went on to say:

“I am sorry though that Deputy McDonald chose to become some party political in her contributions because what you said was so two-faced and so fundamentally dishonest.

My party, Fine Gael, never cut the minimum wage. Working with Labour and then Independents, we increased it by 25%, one of the highest in the world.

What is the minimum wage in Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein is in power. In this jurisdiction, a Government led by my party, introduced a pandemic unemployment payment of €350 a week. So that people who lost their jobs had some financial security.

What happened in Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein is in office? A hundred pounds a week. Nothing for the self-employed until June. And Sinn Féin ministers on their Facebook site promote the fact that they hand out food parcels to the poor.

Reminiscent to me of Donald Trump handing out toilet roll after the hurricane hit the islands in the Caribbean.”


Varadkar: “…you can’t hide the fact that she’s also leader of an All-Ireland party, a party that’s in power in Northern Ireland where the minimum wage is lower than here, where you don’t give people 350 pounds a week. You hand out food parcels and boast about it on Facebook. I’d be ashamed to do something like that.

“And don’t blame it on the Tories, and don’t blame it on London. If it wasn’t for their money, it would even be worse.”


Ms McDonald said she was glad to hear the Taoiseach confirm that the payments would be extended beyond June. She then asked if he’d indicate how long they would be extended and if payment amount would remain the same.

She also said that grants of 10,000 or 25,000 pounds are being made available to businesses across all sectors in the North and added:

“What has been dedicated to those efforts in the six counties is far greater than the entire 250million which is pretty miserly that’s been set out here…”

She also said she’s proud of the community work that Sinn Féin activists do across Ireland.

During his response, Mr Varadkar said no decision has yet been made on the rate of pay or the timeline of the extended payments and indicated it may be something for the next Government to decide.

He added:

“I think it’s a great thing by the way that people do provide food banks and hand out food parcels. And this Government actually funds food banks and we’ve done that for a very long time. What we don’t do is post on Facebook pictures of our ministers visiting them and handing out food to the poor…”


More to follow.

Earlier: Origin Story


Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has confirmed that she learned yesterday that she tested positive for Covid-19, after getting tested 16 days previous, on March 28.

More as they get it.

Previously: “Hidden From View”

The Wait Debate



In fairness.


Earlier: Making Do

This afternoon.

Athlone, County Westmeath.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald is meeting with residents in Westmeath affected by flooding and inspecting the damage caused by the overflow in the River Shannon and the preparations for the expected increase in water levels in the coming days.

Earlier: Shadowy Figures


Last night.

Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Leo Varadkar leaves Aras an Uachtarain after handing in his resignation as Taoiseach to President Michael D Higgins (left).

Mr. Varadkar will continue as acting taoiseach until the Dáil elects a new government.

Varadkar, Martin agree to meet next week for exploratory talks (RTÉ)



Last night.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Leader of Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald TD leaving Leinster House having got the most votes over other leaders to become Taoiseach but falling short of the required amount.

Mary Lou McDonald Receives Most Dáil Votes For Taoiseach (Newstalk)


This morning.

Via Extra.ie:

Almost half of Irish people want Mary Lou McDonald to be the next Taoiseach, according to an Amarach research poll of 1040 Irish adults conducted for Extra.ie on February 16.

…The 50-year-old Sinn Fein leader was dramatically more popular among younger voters compared to both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael’s leaders — a staggering 52% of those under 35 polled said that they would like to see the president of Sinn Fein as the head of the Irish government.

Almost half of Irish people now want Mary Lou McDonald as Taoiseach — (Extra.ie)



When it comes to forming a new government, Sinn Fein combined with Fianna Fail is the preferred option for Irish voters, according to an Extra.ie poll.

The poll, carried out by amarach research, said for coalition formation, 31% of those polled would prefer to see a Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin combination while 30% would like to see a Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael.

Just 9% wanted a Fine Gael/Sinn Féin government while 30% of people wanted a coalition that didn’t involve those three options. The poll, conducted on Monday, indicates that Sinn Féin would benefit more than any other party if there was a second election and receive an additional 10.5% of first preference votes.

Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail the coalition of choice for Irish voters — (Extra.ie)

From top:  Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher, Independent TD Denis Naughten, Fine Gael TD Simon Harris  and Former deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Mary O’Rourke

This morning.

Official Ireland’s freak out continues.

On RTÉ’s Today With Seán O’Rourke.

Mr O’Rourke spoke to a number of politicians and former politicians, including former deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Mary O’Rourke; Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher; Independent TD Denis Naughten and Fine Gael TD Simon Harris.

Listeners were also informed that RTÉ had requested someone from Sinn Féin to join the show but this did not happen.

The panel discussion followed Fianna Fáil taking 38 Dáil seats (which includes the seat of the Ceann Comhairle); Sinn Féin 37; Fine Gael 35; Independents/Others 21; Green Party 12; Labour 6; Social Democrats 6; and Solidarity/People Before Profit 5, in the general election.

Former deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Mary O’Rourke said:

“Now, the momentum right now is with the Sinn Féin party and its leadership as they go around to gather like-minded people…”

“My belief now is that when that day comes [the election of a Taoiseach], when, if Mary Lou McDonald will be put forward as the leader of her party for the role of Taoiseach that Fianna Fáil should not participate in that vote…”

“…But for me now, I’m quite clear and I want it, to say it, we stick with Micheál Martin because for me and for many of my ilk, he is the person who is still the best to lead us out of the electoral difficulties in which we now find ourselves. You didn’t ask me about that but I’m telling you that.”

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher said:

“The idea that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would find some small party and coalesce in advance of giving the process of the people’s will an opportunity to play out would simply be an affront to democracy. I mean, we have to accept that Sinn Féin has 37 seats. It’s the largest popular vote.

“Mary Lou McDonald has said quite clearly she wants to put together a coalition that would exclude Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and, you know, there’s an obligation on her to try and ensure…”

“…if Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael somehow got together today or tomorrow, brought in a few Independents, and rammed through into Government, what do you think would be said by Sinn Féin and everybody else and the public at large…”

Independent TD Denis Naughten, who was re-elected in Roscommon/Galway on the fifth count, said:

“The reality is that no one’s manifesto got a clear mandate from the people whether it was the Sinn Féin manifesto, the Fianna Fáil manifesto, the Fine Gael manifesto or any manifesto.

“And I believe what needs to happen in this stage is to allow time for the parties to consult with their own organisations, that they should sit down, everyone, around a single table and negotiate a national programme for Government that would take in the best elements of the various manifestos.

“Because the one thing that I got on the doorsteps from people is that they’re sick and tired of the political bickering that has been going on. They want to see politicians collectively coming together and implement practical solutions in terms of health, housing, regional balance, agriculture and so forth…”

“…yes, this is a hung parliament so to speak that we now have as a result of the vote of the electorate but that’s what the electorate voted for. The responsibility is on us now to form an operational government.”

Former Minister for Health Fine Gael TD Simon Harris, who was re-elected in Wicklow last night on the 15th count, said:

“I agree with Billy Kelleher on this. That the process should be that Mary Lou McDonald is the leader of the largest party, who got the most votes in the election. She should now do what she said she was going to do.

“She made a lot of promises, a lot of commitments, let her off now and see if she can try and form a Government.

“I wish her well in that regard.

“…if she can’t, if she can’t, I do think there’s an obligation on the centre of Irish politics, which still won a hell of a lot of votes by the way. You would think from some of the media commentary that everybody voted Sinn Féin – 76% of people did not vote for Sinn Féin to be in Government.”

Asked if he thinks Leo Varadkar should step down as leader of Fine Gael, Mr Harris said:

“Absolutely not…our Taoiseach has performed extremely well, he performed very well as leader, he did extremely well in the debates…”

“…this was a very difficult election. It was a very difficult election for all parties but Sinn Féin. And Leo Varadkar is the leader of Fine Gael and will continue to be the leader of Fine Gael and whether in Government or in opposition, he’ll continue to promote our policies and values.”

Listen back in full here

This afternoon.

RDS. Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

With her party heading for 30-36 seats, Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald (left) with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill arrives at the Generel Election 2020 greater Dublin count centre.

More as we get it.

Earlier: Sinn When You’re Winning

Pic: Vanessa Foran