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Sinn Fein and DUP in spat after Arlene Foster dubs Michelle O'Neill 'blonde'

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader has said there can be no place for sexism after DUP leader Arlene Foster referred to her as "blonde".

Michelle O'Neill said political leaders in Northern Ireland had a responsibility to lead by example.

A Democratic Unionist spokesman clarified nothing that was said was offensive or intended to be so.

Mrs O'Neill said: "There can be no room in our society for sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia or any form of discrimination.

"There is no right or wrong way to look and women are in positions of leadership because we belong, representing everyone equally."

Speaking to a newspaper Mrs Foster used the word blonde to describe Sinn Fein's northern leader during a word-association game.

There has been a social media frenzy over the comment.

Mrs O'Neill added: "As political leaders we have a duty and a responsibility to lead by example.

"There is a clear need for more women in public life and there is an onus on women in political leadership to empower women to encourage greater participation in public life."

A DUP statement said during a wide ranging interview the party leader was asked about Mrs O'Neill.

"Nothing that was said was offensive or intended to be so and Sinn Fein have a cheek demanding an apology.

"Indeed they would be better served examining some of their own recent words and deeds and the impact they have had on people in Northern Ireland."

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