The Sinn Féin president says the culture of leaks in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is due to lack of respect for party colleagues.
A number of Fianna Fáil TDs spoke out against the culture of leaking at the parliamentary party meeting on Thursday which was live-tweeted by the Irish Examiner.
The goings-on in parliamentary party meetings, which are supposed to be confidential, are often leaked to media outlets and have increasingly been covered as a regular story. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, as the previous two largest parties in Ireland, often have their meetings leaked and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald says she believes the leaking comes down to a lack of direction.
There is no other walk of life in the world where leaking, and backstabbing your colleagues would be considered a positive thing to do
“When you work with people, as part of a team, you have your ups you have your downs you have different points of view, but you work together as a team.
“I know that a lot of political journalism thrives on these kind of stories but as a person in politics and the leader of a party, it’s a really very unhealthy thing.
“I think it demonstrates disrespect for your colleagues. That’s my take on it.
“I’m not the person really to explain the culture of those parties but, for our part, I always say to our members that we will have our debates, people will have their differences.
“We have them in the room, we debate things and we talk things out, take a position and we treat each other with the level of respect and understanding that we’re not adversaries, we’re not rivals, we’re on the same team.
“We have a big political project that we’re pursuing, transforming things making things better.
“Ask yourself, what’s what’s the big ambition of any of the other parties?”
“Politics is strange like that, that it’s considered an acceptable thing to come out of meetings and to anonymously brief against colleagues or backstab them.
“There’s no other job or profession in the world where that would be tolerated. You know, it would be considered a really really bad thing.
Sinn Féin have been plagued in previous years with accusations of bullying within the party, but Ms McDonald disputes that her party members would be intimidated to leak to the press.
“No, absolutely no,” she said.
“We have a very big team now and I can assure you, I invite you to speak to any of my colleagues and you’ll find that they are very single-minded, independent-minded, thoughtful people, so no, that’s just — I wouldn’t, just not even going to respond to that because it’s so daft.”