No ‘childless’ jibe at Taoiseach: McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald has rejected any suggestion that she implied Taoiseach Leo Varadkar couldn’t understand childcare issues because he is not a father.
She insisted “that is not my view” and said she had “absolutely no interest whatsoever in personalised jibes” after a week that saw repeated Dail clashes between the Sinn Fein deputy leader and the Taoiseach.
Ms McDonald came under heavy criticism after challenging the Irish Government’s record on childcare in the Dail. Mr Varadkar responded by telling her that “Sinn Fein is the only party in this House that has never done anything for children”.
Ms McDonald responded, saying: “To couples at work or individuals on their own who have to provide care for their children, lofty words about balancing the books from An Taoiseach in that dismissive way are of no use.”
Fine Gael ministers defended Mr Varadkar over the weekend with arts minister Heather Humphreys saying he was “very much aware of” the issues faced by families as junior minister Helen McEntee branded Ms McDonald’s comments “ridiculous”.
Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond compared Ms McDonald’s comments to those made by MP Andrea Leadsom about Prime Minister Theresa May, who doesn’t have children.
During last year’s Tory leadership contest Ms Leadsom suggested that she was better placed to be leader as having children meant she had a “real stake in the future of our country”.
Ms McDonald last night rejected the comparison: “I didn’t make those comments. I wouldn’t make those comments. That is not my view as regards anybody.”