Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald says there isn't 'a scintilla of truth' in Hutch trial claims

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said that there is not a "scintilla of truth" in the claims made about her at a trial in Dublin last week.

During a high profile gangland trial, a secret recording of a former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall was played in which he claimed that Mrs McDonald has used the Hutch family for money and votes.

The Dublin Central TD described these comments as "garbled vitriol" and said that she had earned her votes "from the communities that I am very proud to represent on the basis of my track record."

The allegations were heard during the the trial of Gerry "The Monk" Hutch in Dublin, who is accused of the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

Mr Dowdall was secretly recorded by An Gardaí Síochána speaking to Mr Hutch, and the recordings were played before a sitting of the Special Criminal Court.

During the recorded conversations, Mr Dowdall accuses Mrs McDonald of using the Hutch family for electoral benefit, and also criticised her for not attending the funeral of Mr Hutch's brother.

Speaking to UTV's View from Stormont, the Sinn Féin leader described the recordings as a "conversation between two convicted criminals in which they trash me for not showing the kind of deference that it seems they expect to be demonstrated to them.

"I am a person, Paul, who represents communities that have been ravaged by a heroin epidemic, traumatised by so called gangland violence.

"I have stood against these types of characters all of my political life on behalf of the communities that I represent, and that will never ever change."

Describing some of the comment around the case as "political hot wind", Mrs McDonald said that political opponents were "having a go and seeing it as an oppurtunity to undermine" her party.

When asked if the allegations had lead to a recent poll that showed a 4% drop for support in Sinn Féin in the Republic, Mrs McDonald said that her party was "still by some margin the biggest party in the state."

"What I take from [the poll] is the need for us to keep working hard to work harder if we can to keep building trust and confidence and to prepare, prepare, prepare for the for the next election."

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