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Mary Lou McDonald: I’m not embarrassed by Gerry Adams’ teddy bears and rubber ducks

By Kevin Doyle and Barry Lennon

Published 04/05/2016

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald has defended Gerry Adams’ online musings about teddy bears and rubber ducks, saying: “His stuff is idiosyncratic, it’s different. And it gives an insight into him as a person and his sense of humour. I don’t actually see any harm in that.”

Ms McDonald admitted that his use of the “very, very loaded” N-Word was wrong and an apology was necessary, but added: “The reason why the tweet was issued was about context and parallels. He was making a political point. It was just unfortunate that the political point got lost in the fact that a particular term, a horrible term, a very loaded term was used.”

While holding a press conference at Leinster House today on the deal for a minority government struck between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, Ms McDonald was repeatedly asked if she was embarrassed by her party leader’s bizarre behaviour.

Earlier on Ryan Tubridy’s RTÉ radio programme Mr Adams told how he has “hundreds” of rubber ducks.

"The teddy bear thing was a little subplot about two years before the marriage equality referendum to get the issue of gay rights up in a funny sort of a way.

“There's a little storyline, if you have the patience to follow which culminates in these two becoming a gay couple and them coming to Dublin and so on.

"They are certainly engaged. They were hugely uplifted by the result on that marvellous day for marriage equality. They're making their own way in the world,” he said.

Mr Adams went on to reveal that he dreams about Mr Tubridy “a lot”.

Asked if she thought these type of interviews made it difficult for people to take Mr Adams seriously, his deputy leader said: “Only if you think political leaders should be solely and exclusively talking hard politics and policy all of the time. If that’s you’re view, fair enough.

“I understand that the interview with Ryan Tubridy was conservational. It was fairly light. It wasn’t a heavy policy driven interview.

“Obviously if he was dealing with issues around public services and health it would not be appropriate to reference teddies and rubber ducks.”

She was then asked if she ever gets tried “mopping up” Mr Adams’ indiscretions.

“No, no I don’t,” she said, before adding that she wasn’t acknowledging he has indiscretions.

“I’m not tired. I’m full of vim and vigour, “ she said.

“I’m fielding questions from a media group who have no government to report on and who are waiting to see what happens with the Independents and the rest of them and have column inches to fill, and fair play. That’s what’s happening here.

“If we were doing the busy we’re supposed to be doing in there [Leinster House], I would very much hope that we wouldn’t be talking about rubber ducks and teddy bears.”

She said that it is not embarrassing for the party overseas, arguing that in her “humble estimation” the country has “sent some pretty idiosyncratic characters overseas to represent us in the office of Taoiseach”.

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