Monday 27 May 2019

Presidential hopeful Ní Riada in apparent contradiction on HPV

Ní Riada challenged RTÉ interviewer Aine Lawlor

Presidential hopeful Liadh Ni Riada has taken part in her first radio debate
Presidential hopeful Liadh Ni Riada has taken part in her first radio debate

Maria Herlihy

Presidential hopeful Liadh Ní Riada defended her position on the HPV vaccine by saying she never opposed it but had raised concerns about information.

During her RTÉ Radio interview along with four of the six candidates, the interviewer Aine Lawlor asked the Sinn Féin candidate if she had written a letter to her daughter's school asking them not to give them the vaccine. 

In response, Ms Ní Riada said she wondered where Aine Lawlor was getting her information from. 

However, in a 2016 radio interview with 96FM, the MEP said she would not allow her daughter to receive the HPV vaccine. She said in that interview that she had sent a "note" to the school saying she didn't want her daughter to get the vaccine. In the 2016 interview, she said the HSE was "in a shambles" and asked, "how much can you trust this is 100 per cent safe".

However, during the first broadcast of the debate of the presidential election campaign which was held last Thursday, she said that she "didn't write to their school at all," and in turn challenged the interviewer Aine Lawlor by saying, "I don't know where you're getting your information from". 

"I never was on record saying I opposed it…if you listen back, you will hear me saying 'I am raising concerns about the lack of information; at no time did I say I was against it'."

During the Radio debate, she said she was fully in favour of the vaccine and she didn't think it was fair that journalists were "hounding" her children's private medical records. 

When asked why Sinn Féin logos were not on her election posters, she said she wanted to be a candidate for the whole of Ireland. 

The MEP also said she would only take a ministerial salary if she was elected and that the remainder of it would return to the exchequer. 

She also said that there should be "accountability and transparency" over costs associated with the Office of President. 

She also said the President could lead the discourse that is Brexit. With Brexit, she said that we are going to see political as well as constitutional implications.  She said because of that, it is about having that dialogue with our citizens so we have "inclusive preparedness" done for a referendum on a border poll. 

She also said she would be a President for all the people which included having dialogue with Unionists and reaching out that hand of friendship. 

However, when asked about President Donald Trump visiting Ireland, she said she would welcome him and speak to him about the undocumented Irish and his "ridiculous hair".

During the radio debate, neither President Michael D Higgins nor Sean Gallagher took part in the broadcast.

Liadh Ní Riada was joined for the debate by Senator Joan Freeman and by businessmen Gavin Duffy and Peter Casey.