'Offensive and an embarrassment' - McDonald under fire over banner
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has been described as "an embarrassment" for marching behind a banner in New York which read "England Get Out Of Ireland".
Tánaiste Simon Coveney hit out at the Sinn Féin leader after the party shared a photograph of her behind the sign at the New York St Patrick's Day parade.
"This is NOT leadership - it's offensive, divisive and an embarrassment - grow up, this is NOT #Ireland in 2019! We are better than this," he tweeted.
The photograph also drew criticism in Northern Ireland, with Gregory Campbell, of the Democratic Unionist Party, saying: "When slogans such as 'Brits out' or 'England out of Ireland' are used, the unionist community are well within their rights to see themselves as the intended focus. The 'British presence in Ireland' is the unionist population in Northern Ireland," he said.
However, a Sinn Féin spokesman rejected the criticism and said: "The most divisive and offensive act on this island for almost the last 100 years has been the partition of Ireland.
"It should come as no surprise that Sinn Féin wants a new united Ireland under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.
"The faux outrage of some of our political opponents owes more to the silly season of a holiday weekend and petty political point-scoring."
The party challenged the Tánaiste and the Government again to convene "an all-island forum on Irish unity".
Ms McDonald was in New York as part of a trip to mark St Patrick's Day. The US is a key fundraising ground for the party, which regularly raises thousands of dollars there. Last year, Ms McDonald defended missing the inauguration of President Michael D Higgins for a second term to attend a €400-a-plate fundraiser in New York.