Saturday 19 August 2017

O'Neill hits back at 'attractive blonde' remarks

Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill Picture: Damien Eagers
Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill Picture: Damien Eagers

Noel McAdam

The DUP has escalated the "sexism" row with Sinn Féin after Arlene Foster described Michelle O'Neill as an "attractive blonde".

After rejecting Sinn Féin's demand for an apology, the DUP slammed the complaint as "nonsense" and questioned Sinn Féin's interest in women's rights.

Ms Foster sparked outrage in an interview with the 'Sunday Independent' when she was pressed to give a one-word response on Ms O'Neill.

"I don't want to be sexist and I am not going to be sexist because I can't..." Mrs Foster told the interviewer, who then said: "Ah go on, it's not sexist if it's true."

"Blonde," said Mrs Foster. Asked to expand, she went on: "Michelle is very attractive. She presents herself very well and she always is - you know - her appearance is always 'the same'."

Ms O'Neill responded to the remarks last night, saying: "As political leaders we have a duty and a responsibility to lead by example. There is a clear need for more women in public life and there is an onus on women in political leadership to empower women.

"There can be no room in our society for sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia or any form of discrimination."

Irish Independent

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