Political establishment trying to push back against desire for change, McDonald tells Cork rally

Political establishment trying to push back against desire for change, McDonald tells Cork rally
Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the large crowd at the Sinn Féin public rally in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork. Pic: Jim Coughlan.

The Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonal, has rejected suggestions that her party's public rallies this week are "an affront to democracy."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hit out at the party's rallies yesterday and said that they were a campaign of "intimation and bullying".

The Taoiseach also said that Sinn Féin are “more interested in rallies” than seeking to actually form a government.

Ms McDonald pushed back however and said Mr Varadkar and those criticising the rallies are just worried about change:

"I think all of this overreaction is just symptomatic of a political establishment now that sees change coming and is trying to push it back.

"I think that is a fruitless exercise. I think people should embrace the fact that the citizens now are hugely engaged with politics.

"They have identified for political system the core social issues that need to be addressed."

The Dublin Central TD also said that the Taoiseach's comments about Sinn Féin's rallies were "completely over the top."

Ms McDonald believes that now is the time for working together instead of being defensive.

"Rather than being defensive or worse being abusive towards those of us that have a mandate for change," she said.

I think now is the time for big ideas and for working together.

Describing last night's meeting in Cork City as "absolutely packed," McDonald believes that attendance will be at similar levels "right across the country."

Speaking at the rally in Rochestown Park Hotel, Ms McDonald said gardaí have been alerted to threats made against her.

Almost 1,000 people attended the rally yesterday while a second is to take place in Dublin tonight.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin meets the Taoiseach today to discuss whether there is a basis for talks on forming an historic grand coalition between the two old rivals.

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