Mary Lou says Sinn Féin is setting sights on Longford

Liam Cosgrove


Liam Cosgrove



Sinn Féín president Mary Lou McDonald locked in conversation with Ruth McGarry Quinn

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has launched a withering attack on the Government, accusing them of “leaving behind Longford” by insisting her party is hellbent on winning a seat at next year’s local elections.

In what was her first official visit to the county since assuming the mantle of Sinn Féin president from Gerry Adams earlier this year, Ms McDonald also indicated the party were very much focused on enhancing its national representative focus ahead of any future general election.

The burden of that responsibility lies from a Longford-Westmeath standpoint with Westmeath based Cllr Sorca Clarke, a talkative and expressive local politician who flanked the Dublin Central TD last Wednesday as she visited Longford’s Attic House.

Asked if her decision to visit the county was indicative of a party very much in election mode, the Sinn Féin supremo offered up a typically robust and no-nonsense riposte.

“It’s a sign that we love Longford and that we are working very hard with Sorca to firstly ensure people in Longford and Westmeath know they have a choice whenever the election is and that choice is not just Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael or the usual tweedledum and tweedledee, and that there is a republican alternative,” she sternly remarked.

“It’s about equality across Ireland and for places like Longford, and I know from talking to people that feel that they have been very much left behind.”

Her take on Longford's present socio economic well-being was largely coloured by her obvious fascination with the altruistic strides which have been made by the likes of the Attic.

Appearing somewhat bowled over by the pristine look of the facility's confines, Ms McDonald seemed equally surprised to learn of its volunteer led basis.

And it didn't stop her from laying bare just what the party was planning ahead of next year's local elections.

“We are looking to develop our representation right across the country and Longford is no different.

In fact it is the only county in the country where we don’t have an elected councillor in and we need to remedy that.”

Describing the Fine Gael led government's position as “untenable” on the back of record high homeless figures, Ms McDonald was just as keen to express her ire at the delay in Brexit talks.

“We (Ireland) won’t be the collatoral damage for the Tories and their exit strategy,” she warned.

“It’s not going to happen.”

There was no mention, though, of who the party's presidential candidate may or may not be and whether a certain Gerry Adams might be among them.

That, instead, was left for another day.