Mary Lou is the Leader of Sinn Féin and Teachta Dála for the Dublin Central constituency.
Before becoming Leader of Sinn Féin in February 2018, Mary Lou was the party’s deputy leader. Following her election to the Dáil in 2011, Mary Lou was Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform. In 2016, Sinn Féin’s All-Ireland Spokesperson for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention on her re-election. She was a prominent member of the Public Accounts Committee between 2011 and 2017, holding Ministers and senior civil servants to account. She has also served on the Joint Oireachtas Committees for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Future of Mental Health.
She was an MEP for Dublin from 2004 to 2009. During her time in the European Parliament, Mary Lou was a prominent member of the Employment and Social Affairs committee and Civil Liberties committee. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, she studied English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource Management. She previously worked as a consultant for the Irish Productivity Centre, a researcher for the Institute of European Affairs and a trainer in the trade union sponsored Partnership Unit of the Educational and Training Services Trust.
It is two years since Mary Lou McDonald was anointed as Sinn Féin president, taking over from Gerry Adams after 34 years.
The 50-year-old comes from a middle-class background and was brought up in Rathgar, viewed as one of Dublin’s most desirable suburbs. She went to a private fee-paying school and became interested in politics in her teens, but it was not Sinn Féin that initially caught her eye. In the late 1990s, she joined Fianna Fáil in Dublin West, and her political opponents say she was keen to climb the political ladder. However, Mrs McDonald has said her switch to Sinn Féin was more about policy than personal ambition, arguing that she is a supporter of Irish Unity to her core.
In 2002, Mrs McDonald was Sinn Féin’s candidate in Dublin West but failed to win a seat in the Dáil. However, in 2004 she made history by becoming the party’s first MEP and in 2009 became the vice-president of Sinn Féin. Her role in Europe gave her a profile, and in 2011 she was elected as a member of the Dáil for Dublin Central. Mrs McDonald’s style in the Dáil drew attention, as she became known for clashing with the larger parties.
She was a vocal supporter of the campaign to overturn the ban on abortion in the Republic of Ireland. Later that year, the party changed its policy to back abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In July 2018, she was accused of rowing back on party policy when she said a border poll should not be held while uncertainty around Brexit remained. That was in stark contrast with Sinn Féin’s previous assertions that a referendum on a united Ireland could not come soon enough. She was criticized the following year for posing with a banner reading “England get out of Ireland” during a St Patrick’s Day parade in New York.
Since Mary Lou McDonald became Sinn Féin president, the party has had some disappointing results in the Republic of Ireland elections. It lost almost half of its local councillors and two out of three MEPs in the local government and European elections in 2019. However, recent polls suggest the party has significantly increased its support ahead of the general election.
Overview of her ideas
It is hard to find any of Mrs McDonald’s statements without noting the 1921 partition, and it is a sign of importance in her mind and maybe her experience. She explained his childhood background, “my family’s association with the IRA goes back to the 1920s. And, this year, we’ll mark the centenary of executions by what was called then the free state a hundred years ago. One of those seventy-seven that was executed was my grandmother’s brother. She was only a very young child when it happened. And it left a mark on her for her entire life. “
She titles her policy “The politics of common sense or getting the basics right.“
Usually, in her international analysis, Europe is a central issue. She has a deep sense of belonging to the European continent while being a nationalist and believing in the peaceful settlement of disputes and using means like diplomacy in the cases like Ukraine crisis. She is committed to fighting for freedom without violence. In her view, nobody should have nuclear weapons. Not NATO, not the Russian Federation.
About the military alliance, She explained, “the idea of being part of a military alliance or walking away from our traditional policy of military neutrality and nonalignment, I don’t believe there is a runner. I don’t think that it would enjoy widespread support in Ireland. And I don’t think it would be the right move for Ireland or the international community. We have consistently taken the position that every approach must be used to de-escalate the conflict. We know from our own direct experience that, ultimately, the fighting has to stop, and the dialogue and diplomacy must begin. We know that that’s the reality.
As for the history of Ireland, it has made an apparent confrontation with extravagance and, as she puts it, with British colonialism.
“As an Irishwoman, and coming from a country—sometimes we say, Ireland has no colonial baggage, no colonial experience. It’s just different colonial baggage in that we are not—have never been and have no aspirations to be an empire or to be an imperial force; we were, however, colonized. So we have experience colonization, conflict, of partition. Our country is still partitioned. And in later years, we have experience peacemaking. And we still have an incomplete peace, but we have a very robust peace process.” She said
She is proud to be elected as a female official as she said, “Women lead Sinn Féin. And we hope that it demonstrates for women and girls, but men and boys also, that woman can achieve the highest level within Irish political life. “
She considers Brexit a terrible idea, and she tries to make changes.
“We need to prepare for constitutional change because there is no doubt that this is on the cards. And what we wish to see and what we are determined to see is a constitutional change that is orderly, peaceful, and democratic. And that means you have to prepare. We talked a lot about a disorderly Brexit if you remember when all of that was in play,” She said.
who believe that democracy can work, that diplomacy can work, that dialogue can work, and that you can finish a journey not simply to stop the war and end the conflict but to build something. She believed The economic opportunity for their economy in reunification was immense. Every day, every week, every month, every year that Ireland is partitioned, we pay substantial economic opportunity costs. “And our view is that a constitutional framework for a new Ireland needs to explicitly acknowledge and make judicial rights to, for example, housing, the right to shelter,” She said