DUP veto on Covid restrictions 'shameful', says Mary Lou McDonald

Dup Veto On Covid Restrictions 'Shameful', Says Mary Lou Mcdonald
Mary Lou McDonald said the use of a cross-community veto by the DUP was 'shameful and depressing'. Photo: Handout/PA
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Vivienne Clarke

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said that she has never been as disappointed in politics in Northern Ireland than in the past week.

Her comments follow those of Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, who said the tactics used by the DUP during Executive discussions this week on extending Covid-19 restrictions in the region were “shameful and embarrassing”.


Ms McDonald said the use of the cross-community veto by the DUP on a proposal to extend restrictions was “depressing”.

“It was scandalous stuff” to make the issue appear to be about one community against another, she said. “That has to stop”.

She said the idea of using a public health issue to be “orange versus green’ and “us versus them” was “very shocking”.

The scientific advice had to be “heard and heeded”, Ms McDonald said in an interview on RTÉ radio.


What had happened this week highlighted how challenging five-party government in the Executive was, she said.

“If the disease is on this island then it imperils all of us. The border is porous”.

'Perversion of democracy'

Earlier, Ms Long, who sits on the Executive as Minister of Justice, said she had never been as disappointed about governance in Northern Ireland as she had been in the past week.

The cross-community veto used by the DUP was a flaw in the Belfast Agreement, she said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.


It diminished the role of those who were not Unionist or Sinn Féin, added Ms Long. “This was designed to protect minorities from majoritarian rule, the degree of perversion of its original intent has been laid bare for all to see.”

Using the veto this way was completely inappropriate and “a perversion of democracy”.

“We cannot do government while one party behaves this way.”

Ms Long said the compromise she had voted for was an uneasy compromise. It had not been a case of choosing good versus better, it was bad versus worse.

The Alliance Party leader warned that the Executive had a lot of work to do to prove itself fit for purpose – there was a danger that it would not be sustained and people would ignore it, she said.

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