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Mary Lou McDonald says Regency trial won’t impact Sinn Féin’s relationship with gardaí

The Sinn Féin leader has denied she has ever met or had dealings with Gerry Hutch

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking at Leinster House© PA


Mary Lou McDonald insists events at the Regency murder trial “absolutely” will not damage Sinn Féin’s relationship with the gardaí as her party eyes a stint in government.

The Sinn Féin leader has denied she has ever met or had dealings with Gerry Hutch, who is on trial at the Special Criminal Court for the murder of David Byrne at the north Dublin hotel in February 2016.

Former party councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who is now giving evidence against Gerry Hutch, had claimed that Sinn Féin took money from the Hutch family.

But he later apologised in court for making “very unfair” comments and claimed his evidence was being used to “drag down the party”.

Ms McDonald says the trial “absolutely” will not affect the party’s work with gardaí.

“The relationship that we have with the gardaí is actually a very, very good one and a constructive one,” she told the Business Post in an interview published today.

“And I could point you to communities all across the State where Sinn Féin representatives, councillors and TDs work hand in glove with gardaí.”

She admits it has been a “hectic” year with the cost-of-living crisis coming on the back of the war in Ukraine, just after the Covid pandemic abated.

A high-point was seeing party colleague Michelle O’Neill becoming the First Minister designate in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about Sinn Féin’s hopes of entering Government following the next election, she says: “I know we’re going to have to work really, really hard to convince the people to give us the chance to show, to demonstrate and to deliver for them.

“So the work is ongoing across all the portfolios.”

Ms McDonald insists that she wants to give business groups “some certainty” about her party’s policies, claiming there was a “false narrative” about what Sinn Féin wanted to achieve.

“We have to cut through the middleman. It’s Mohammed going to the mountain,” she said.

She also believes housing is the major issue for ensuring that “high-quality, well-paid jobs” continue to be brought to Ireland.

Lumping the current main coalition parties together, she says: “Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, they may as well be the same party. That same old same old is not going to crack the big questions or the big challenges for the Irish economy or our society, in my view.”

In terms of her own experience and ability to be Ireland’s first female Taoiseach, she tells the Business Post: “I’m an Irish mammy. We run things, we do things, we get things done.”

But she admits: “You have to be on your game. You have to be able to multitask, manage a lot of things, absorb a lot of pressure and keep a cool head. I believe that I am a resilient person. SO I would have no fears of me cracking under that kind of strain.”

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