Wednesday 28 September 2016

Joan Burton compares Gerry Adams' leadership of Sinn Fein to North Korea regime

Published 03/04/2015 | 09:57

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Tanaiste Joan Burton has hit out at Sinn Fein - this time comparing the leadership structure of the party to the regime in North Korea.

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The Labour leader made her comments in an exclusive interview in today's 'Irish Daily Star.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (centre) with deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and the north's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Photo: PA
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (centre) with deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and the north's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and the Tanaiste & Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles during his inspection of Unit 1016 of KPA (Korean People's Army) Air and Anti-Air Force honored with the Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 9, 2015
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) inspects Unit 1016 of KPA (Korean People's Army) Air and Anti-Air Force honored with the Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 9, 2015.

The party's structure under the leadership of Gerry Adams is "authoritarian", she said.

"They have had the same leader for almost 32 years. To find a comparison in the modern world you would have to look to North Korea to have that long-term leadership," she claimed.

She also made comments about the party's deputy leader and regular Dail sparring partner Mary Lou McDonald, saying both of them were "strong women".

"We are both strong women and we both have points of view. I will put my point of view forward. I have nothing to apologise for in relation to myself," she said.

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

"She [Mary Lou] was very strong a number of years ago in encouraging people to stand up against the big men in the Catholic Church. She now needs the courage to do that in terms of her own party."

The Tanaiste also referred to November's incident in Jobstown during a water charges protest which saw her trapped in her car for two hours.

"It was not a very pleasant experience," she said when asked about it.

She added that her main concern at the time was that somebody "might get hurt".

She also told the newspaper her party would like to be in coalition with Fine Gael after the next General Election - but their fate lies in the hands of voters.

"We have had four years of difficult experience under our belts," she said.

"We know we have made mistakes but we have also had successes. It was an experience that was hard won. We learned to co-operate, we had change and exchange between the two parties. We have given Ireland the stable beginnings of a broad-based recovery.

"I would like to see Labour and Fine Gael involved in the next Government. But at the end of the day, it's up to the voters."

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