Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described comments from Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power on the issue of why Sinn Féin withdrew their participation from a video she organised as “dishonest and disappointing”.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“Last Tuesday 25th February, I received an email from Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power in which she asked if I would take part in a video message on LGBT equality and the need for all St Patricks day celebrations to be inclusive.
“As I had a prior engagement last Thursday, my office called Senator Power's office the following day to confirm that our Seanad Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh would take part in the video on behalf of Sinn Féin.
“However on the Thursday, Senator Ó Clochartaigh was given a written script from Senator Power with the words he and the other participants were to read out on the video.
“It was now clear from this written script that rather than the video presented to me and my party in her email, this was now a video endorsing one St Patrick's event in New York over another and that the video was clearly not an all-party initiative based on each party's policies in support of the LBGT community and inclusivity.
“Senator Ó Clochartaigh then relayed our concerns to Senator Power outlining that we objected to the last paragraph of her script, endorsing one St Patrick's celebratory event over another but we were happy to read any of the remaining script as presented. Unfortunately Senator Power refused to change her script and what Senator Ó Clochartaigh was to read out in the video so he had no choice but to withdraw his participation in the video.
“The attempts by Senator Power to misrepresent our party's reasons for withdrawing are dishonest and disappointing.”