Tuesday 22 October 2019

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party uses video of Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald against EU

Ex-MEP: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Ex-MEP: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is using video clips of Mary Lou McDonald as part of its campaign to undermine the European Union.

The party's YouTube page features a montage including a variety of contributions made by the Sinn Féin leader during her time as a member of the European Parliament.

The video dates from 2008 when the Lisbon Treaty was being debated ahead of the first referendum, when it was rejected by Irish voters.

Ms McDonald, who now describes her party as "Euro critical" rather than Eurosceptical, said the treaty was a "carte blanche for further erosion of democracy".

"It gives powerful EU institutions a free hand to further militarise our union."

She also claimed the EU Commission was "actively colluding to suppress information".

Although Sinn Féin is against the UK leaving the union, the party has opposed every EU referendum since Ireland joined the union in 1973.

Ms McDonald was the party's MEP for Dublin from 2004 until 2009.

Fianna Fáil's European candidate for Midlands-North West, Brendan Smith, said the fact the Brexit Party was using her commentary as "propaganda" should not come as a surprise.

"Anyone who has listened to Sinn Féin's anti-EU rhetoric over the past 45 years knows where they stand on the European project," he said.

"For those who have listened to the party's recent claims to be pro-European, the emergence of this video is a timely reminder of the real values at the heart of Sinn Féin."

While the Lisbon Treaty was rejected by voters at the first time of asking, it was passed in a second referendum after the Fianna Fáil government secured reassurances around Ireland's membership of the European Commission and military neutrality.

"The new Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage knows the Sinn Féin leader personally from their time together in the European Parliament and the two shared a platform together to fight Micheál Martin during the Fiscal Compact Treaty referendum in 2012," Mr Smith said.

"Sinn Féin's record on the European Union is clear, unambiguous and hiding in plain sight. Every time the Irish people were asked to vote on a European referendum, Sinn Féin told them to vote against. They are every bit as negative and obstructionist as Farage when it comes to Europe."

In response, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said dragging up the video was "a desperate attempt by Brendan Smith to save his flagging campaign by spreading false representations".

"His efforts to smear Matt Carthy failed and now he seeks to do the same to Mary Lou McDonald. To say that Sinn Féin and the Brexit Party could have any common ground is laughable," the spokesman said.

The Fianna Fáil TD recently accused Mr Carthy's campaign of "being a lie" because he plans to run the next Dáil even if he is re-elected as an MEP.

Recent polls in the UK suggest the Brexit Party is on course for a big election day.

They have more support than the Conservatives and Labour combined.

Irish Independent

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