Sinn Fein 'won't ride to the rescue' in Commons Brexit vote
There is "no scenario in which Sinn Fein rides into the rescue" of Brexit by having its MPs vote in Westminster, Mary Lou McDonald has said.
Despite the uphill battle facing Theresa May to get the so-called 'Irish backstop' approved by the House of Commons, Sinn Fein MPs will not take their seven seats.
Analysts suggest the final vote on a Brexit deal could go down to the wire, creating a situation where seven votes could be enough to swing the result.
However, party leader Ms McDonald said: "Brexit can't be stopped in our view. There is no scenario in which Sinn Fein rides into the rescue and stops all of this from happening.
"This, folks, is happening. Our efforts have to be very precisely focused on getting the right deal and the right protections for Ireland."
She argued that Sinn Fein MPs were elected on the basis that they would not take up their seats in London. Despite not sitting in parliament, they do collect allowances and expenses.
Ms McDonald said it was her party's job to "ensure that this island, this country, does not become the collateral damage in this Brexit debacle".
She said EU negotiator Michel Barnier has "our back" and it is up to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's government to secure the best deal for Ireland.
"Brexit will not be decided in Westminster. Brexit will be decided around that negotiating table," she added.