Sinn Féin President McDonald refuses to condemn IRA attacks on security forces in Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald refused to condemn IRA attacks on the security forces in Northern Ireland Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Mary Lou McDonald has refused to condemn IRA attacks on security forces in Northern Ireland, saying that “refighting battles” does not achieve a lot.

The Sinn Féin leader said if she had written Ireland’s history, it would a “very different story” where no-one would have been hurt or harmed.

Ms McDonald has previously condemned Provisional IRA members who murdered gardai, however when asked to criticise attacks on police officers north of the border, the Dublin Central TD said she does not want to “reopen hurts”.

“I’m conscious that my job and my mission is to build the peace. That’s why I came into political life,” she said.

“We’ve had now 25 years next year of the Good Friday Agreement, a quarter of a century of a peace process. That’s quite an achievement. We’re not there yet, we’re not finished yet.

“If I had written the history of Ireland, I would have written a very different story and nobody would have been hurt or harmed, but I didn’t write the history book.

“I have to say that my primary, in fact my sole focus is on where we go next and building the future.

“I know for victims for survivors, the pain of loss and trauma stays with the family and with families.

“It becomes part of a family’s story forever and I know also that we need to ensure politically, that those, as they’re called legacy mechanisms, are established.

“So I know and I’m very sensitive to all of that, but I know also above all else, my job as a political leader now, in 2022 coming into 2023, is to move things and to advance things forward.

“I think going back again and again and refighting battles and reopening hurts, I don’t believe achieves achieves a whole lot.”

Meanwhile, Ms McDonald described DUP’s ongoing boycott of the Northern Ireland institutions as “absolutely scandalous”.

The DUP has blocked a return to powersharing at Stormont due to its opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It claims the protocol has undermined Northern Ireland’s place within the UK by creating economic barriers on trade entering the region from Great Britain.

Ms McDonald said that while there are ways the protocol could have a “smoother application”, the Brexit mechanism was working.

“They (DUP) have ignored the democratic view and verdict of the people and left people at a time where we are living through a once in a generation cost-of-living crisis with no government to intervene, to protect them, to make sure payments that third you are actually in their pocket,” Ms McDonald added.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

“We know that our health service is under huge pressure. We have huge waiting lists and now is not the time for self indulgent politics by the DUP.

“Now is the time for that inclusive collective effort to protect people as best as the the Executive can.

“With good faith and a new prime minister who desists from unilateral action and from bad faith, and who is prepared to really lead, then I think that all of the issues can be resolved.

“We can have the protocol functioning to its optimal and we can have the institutions of government back up and running.

“The Protocol Bill now we know isn’t proceeding until the new year. I take that as a hopeful signal.

“I think it allows some space, but we don’t have the luxury of endless meandering and we need to get a deal done.

“We need to get the Executive up and running and get Michelle O’Neill in office as a First Minister for all, but also fill all of the other ministerial positions.

“Next year is going to be very, very challenging. A very, very challenging year.

“The idea that anybody would boycott government in those circumstances is is really, really unacceptable.”

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