Sinn Féin calls on leaders to 'lead from the front' in abortion referendum campaign

By Eithne Dodd

Mary Lou McDonald is calling for political leaders to lead in the abortion referendum campaign.

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Repeal posters this afternoon, Ms McDonald said: “I think it’s important as a political leader to stake out my positions on the issue.”

“As with any other major constitution or political issue, as a leader you lead, and you lead from the front,” she said.

May 25 will be a “historic moment” Ms McDonald said. “It’s the opportunity of our generations to right what was a historical and constitutional wrong as far as we’re concerned.

“It’s absolutely imperative that the Eighth Amendment is removed from the Constitution.

And it’s imperative that we in the course of the debate talk about care, talk about compassion, talk about placing trust in women.

Ms McDonald, along with other Sinn Féin TDs and Michell O’Neill, leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly, said that her party will be “vigorously campaigning” for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Both Ms McDonald and Ms O’Neill were keen to stress that this was a campaign that matters to people across the island.

Ms O’Neill said that the Sinn Féin stance on abortion is the same across the island of Ireland.

“The Sinn Féin position is the same the length and breadth of the island, we need to protect women. Women are being failed in the North of Ireland just as they’re being failed here for far too long,” Ms O’Neill said.

We are one party. We don’t pass an Ard Fheis motion for here, and another for there.

"The policy position of Sinn Féin decided at an Ard Fheis is a national position and our work is national to achieve our aims and objectives

“The legislative reality is that unfortunately we have two jurisdictions and we have two different processes. So, we do our best to harmonise.”

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