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Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Apr 16 11:38:11 EDT 2019

Mary Lou McDonald says Brexit will dominate local government election
Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (centre) flanked by MEP Martina Anderson
(left) and Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill (right). Picture by Mal McCann


16 April, 2019 01:00
(l-r) Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with Mid and East Antrim
councillor Patrice Hardy and deputy leader Michelle O'Neill at the party's
local government election manifesto launch. Picture by Mal McCann

IT will be Brexit rather than the normal council business of bin
collections and burials that will dominate debate in the forthcoming local
government elections, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.

Launching the party's manifesto for the May 2 poll, the Dublin Central TD
said the election was an opportunity to say "time is up on Brexit".

Sinn Féin opted for the opulent surroundings of the Galgorm Resort & Spa
near Ballymena – the heart of DUP country – to unveil its local government
policy plan.

The choice of venue, according to Mrs McDonald, was to demonstrate that
there were "no more no go areas" for republicans in the north.

It was also designed to send a signal to unionist councillors in Mid and
East Antrim that their Sinn Féin counterparts will not be cowed by

Patrice Hardy, one of two Sinn Féin representatives on the unionist
dominated council, earlier this year complained of being subjected to
regular sexist and sectarian abuse by other elected representatives.

Ms Hardy was chosen as the master of ceremonies for yesterday's manifesto
launch, introducing her party leader and deputy Michelle O'Neill, alongside
MEP Martina Anderson, who on Saturday was selected to contest the
forthcoming European election.

The manifesto itself focuses on a variety of areas ranging from rights and
equality and regeneration to policing and a united Ireland. Many of the
topics covered appear to exaggerate the role councils perform. For example,
your local authority plays only limited role in implementing housing,
rights and regeneration. It is only in the sections on policing and the
Irish language, that party policy is spelled out clearly in bullet point

In these areas, Sinn Féin promises to scrutinise PSNI plans to ensure
frontline policing is protected and advocates an Irish language policy for
each of the north's 11 councils.

The party would also like to see all local authorities outsource contracts
only to firms that pay a Living Wage of £9-an-hour.

But as the Sinn Féin leader pointed out, there is one issue dominating the
forthcoming election – Brexit.

Mrs McDonald said the election, in which Sinn Féin is running 155
candidates, was an "opportunity to call time on the political vandalism of
Brexit and on Tory/DUP cuts".

"Brexit has added to uncertainty and instability – under the Tory and DUP
pact funding for health and public services isn't even enough to stand
still and now they seek to impose Brexit against the will of the people,"
she said.

“This is an unprecedented act of political vandalism – this election is an
opportunity to say time is up on Brexit, time is up on the DUP/Tory cuts."


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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