General election 2019: Sinn Féin attacks DUP's 'crazy Brexit agenda'

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with party colleagues at the menifesto event

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Mary Lou McDonald attacked the DUP for its Brexit policy

The Sinn Féin president has accused the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of using its “crazy” Brexit agenda as a badge of honour at Westminster.

Mary Lou McDonald was speaking at the unveiling of her party’s general election manifesto in Londonderry.

The party’s 15-page document focuses mainly on Brexit and Irish unity.

Addressing the manifesto event, Ms McDonald attacked the claim the solution to Brexit would only be found in the House of Commons.

“The farce of a notion that you go into the house of chaos at Westminster… [with] Jacob Rees-Mogg as he reclines on the green benches and snoozes off is fanciful,” she said.

Sinn Féin is the second largest party in Northern Ireland after the DUP and it secured seven MPs at the last general election in 2017.

Its representatives do not take their seats at Westminster due to its policy of abstentionism.

The party’s core belief is that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should be united as a single independent republic.

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Sinn Féin won in seven constituencies at the last Westminster election

In its manifesto, Sinn Féin claims credit for securing special status for Northern Ireland and no hardening of the Irish border.

It also highlights other areas of focus related to the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, including protecting the Good Friday peace agreement and ensuring automatic re-entry to the EU through Irish unity.

The manifesto features polls that the party says show the demand for Irish unity and it calls on the Irish government to prepare for a referendum on unity.

Defending her party’s abstentionism policy, Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin’s “relentless representation” had been heard in Dublin, Brussels and Washington and had helped shape the EU’s negotiation.

“The voice of the north has been heard loud and clear – not only heard, it has been heeded and acted on,” she said.

What is in the party’s manifesto?

Some of the party’s key manifesto pledges include:

  • Protect the Good Friday Agreement in future Brexit negotiations
  • Continue push for Irish unity referendum
  • Restore a credible Stormont executive
  • Deliver an Irish language act and reform the petition of concern
  • Implement the Stormont House Agreement

Sinn Féin, the SDLP, and the Green Party have reached a pact in the interest of boosting the anti-Brexit vote in certain constituencies in the election.

Defending her party’s decision to stand aside in some constituencies, Ms McDonald said Brexit “had the effect of uniting improbable allies amid real threats to people’s livelihoods”.

“We have come together, set aside very significant political differences and said it is important that people use and lend and borrow votes from others to ensure that – loud and clear again – it is heard that the north has not consented to Brexit,” she said.

Ms McDonald also highlighted the party’s desire to see a “credible” Stormont executive restored.

Speaking at the manifesto event, Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill said the Stormont parties faced the challenge of rebuilding the public’s faith in politics.

“Confidence in politics in the north is broken and we need to rebuild that confidence,” she said.

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