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McDonald describes attacks on republicans as juvenile

13 April, 2004

Sinn Féin's Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has described Minister for Justice Michael McDowell's weekend attacks on republicans commemorating the 1916 Rising as 'juvenile' and said it was like something from a school playground. Speaking after the conclusion of over 100 events that took place right across the island, Ms McDonald described the Minster as having a 'fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of republicanism'.

Ms McDonald said:

"Michael McDowell's comments merely serve to expose his fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of republicanism.

"The basic tenets of republicanism, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity have been ceaselessly undermined by this Government. Where is the commitment to Fraternity to be seen in a Government introducing a citizenship referendum to allow it to deport people while putting in place restrictions on the movements of workers from the EU accession states? Where is the commitment to Equality in a Government that has seen substantial increases in relative poverty and inequality over the lifetime of the Coalition? Where is the commitment to Liberty when Irish independence is continually diminished in the EU and the Government is happy to see Shannon Airport turned into a US military base?

"Michael McDowell attacks republicans for remembering the men and women of 1916 in more than 100 different commemorations across the island over the last three days but has no interest in doing so himself. Unlike Michael McDowell we claim no monopoly on republicanism, but we believe that actions speak louder than rhetorical soundbites uttered more for the benefit of the media than for political debate.

"The Minister for Justice has repeatedly undermined republicanism in Ireland, he is rewriting the Good Friday Agreement with his proposed referendum and putting the Peace Process at risk for narrow party political gain in the forthcoming elections." ENDS

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