From Russia to Mary Lou, with Love?

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Mary Lou McDonald refutes accusation that Sinn Féin has been soft on Russia

 14th April 2022

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has rejected accusations that her party has been soft on Russia and that this could be a reason the party has dropped in a recent opinion poll.

According to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll, Sinn Féin is down two points to 33pc, but still remains the most popular party in the country.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and DUP MP Chris Hazzard are among politicians that have accused Sinn Féin of being soft on Russia in recent years.

Speaking in the Dáil in February to Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, Mr Varadkar said: “For a long time your party has been soft on Russia and as recently as three years ago you described the expulsion of a Russian diplomat as violation of our neutrality.

“I welcome the fact that on this issue you’ve finally come to your senses, and you’ve finally realised what Putin is and what the Russian regime is.”

Speaking tonight on Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show, Ms McDonald refuted claims that her party has been soft on Russia and said that’s not why they are down on the recent Irish Times/ Ipsos opinion poll.

“We have not been soft on Russia, we have not changed our position,” she said.

“Our position is that the sovereignty of any country must be respected and we in this country know why those matters are important.

“Whether it’s Russia or any other offending power we are not slow in calling them out when they break the law and that’s what Russia has done, they are bombarding territory, they are the aggressor.”

The Sinn Féin leader said she is not phased by the recent opinion poll as 33pc is “a very strong showing”.

“We are not one bit presumptuous or complacent about the level of support, you go out and earn your support,” she said.

“But I am very clear that the appetite for change that we saw in the election in February 2020 is still there and it’s still very strong, we need a change in Government and policy and that’s apparent.

“You have opinion polls and you’ll be up a little and down a little, that’s the slings and arrows of politics. But the direction of the trend is clear and established.”

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