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14th May 2020

Mary Lou McDonald: It’s time for a united response to Covid-19

Oli Dugmore

mary loud mcdonald

Covid-19 is all-consuming from a political standpoint

It’s hard to believe right now, but there was a time not too long ago when all anyone was talking about was a little thing called Brexit. Remember Brexit? Britain’s decision to leave the European Union? Yeah, that.

Once the coronavirus pandemic reached the United Kingdom though, Brexit was put to the back of the collective mind to fight the virus.

In Ireland, too, talk was mostly about their general election prior to the virus. In a country whose recent political history has been dominated by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein hit upon a message which resonated with voters and in turn brought about an historic break from Ireland’s two-party system.

Sinn Fein won a higher share of seats and first preference votes than ruling party Fine Gael and only a fractionally smaller share than Fianna Fail, in total taking a 23 percent share of all votes.

Talks remain ongoing regarding the building of a coalition government, but Covid-19 is the priority.

We sat down (virtually) with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald to talk about contracting COVID-19, government formation, and why now is not the right time for British people to holiday in Ireland.