Belfast Telegraph

Brexit not a 'Trojan horse' for united Ireland, says Sinn Fein's McDonald

Sinn Fein do not see Brexit as a "Trojan horse" for a united Ireland, party president Mary Lou McDonald has said ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Wednesday afternoon a delegation made up of Sinn Fein MPs Mickey Brady and Orfhlaith Begley, the party's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill, and Mrs McDonald will meet with the Prime Minister to discuss power-sharing at Stormont, legacy issues, and the impact of Brexit on the island of Ireland.

Interviewed on Sky News, Mrs McDonald said her party was "not happy with Brexit full stop".

"That needs to be deeply appreciated. Because Brexit is not of our making, we did not come up with Brexit," she said.

"And by the way we don’t regard Brexit as some kind of Trojan Horse to get us a united Ireland."

The Sinn Fein leader said it was her view Northern Ireland was on course for "a referendum [on a united Ireland] and a big constitutional debate".

"I have to tell you I would prefer that did not happen in the context of a chaotic disorderly Brexit. That doesn’t suit us, it doesn’t suit economic and social stability on the island of Ireland."

She added: "We’re not looking opportunistically at this scenario. We’re looking at this in a clear headed way that says Brexit has been decided on - and I respect the right of the British people to take their decision, let me say that clearly - but people in the north of Ireland voted to remain."

Mrs McDonald also hit out at the approach of Theresa May ahead of Brexit negotiations, saying the Prime Minister had engaged in "make-believe, nonsense and bluff" which had been "set aside quite appropriately by European negotiators".

Wednesday's meeting between Sinn Fein representatives and the Prime Minister has been criticised by the DUP's leader in the Commons Nigel Dodds, calling the party a "glorified lobbyist".

"They sit on the outside as spectators dependant on others to get decisions made.  Meanwhile DUP MPs will be in the House of Commons using our votes to deliver more money for hospitals and schools and ensure we get the best deal for Northern Ireland as we exit the EU," he said.

The meeting between Sinn Fein representatives and Theresa May will take place at 5pm at Westminster.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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