MARY LOU McDonald believes any new government in Ireland should involve Sinn Féin and believes “the time is right” for a woman to lead it.
In an interview with the Irish Daily Mail, the Sinn Féin leader hit out at Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for excluding her party from talks over the formation of new executive, branding it as “indefensible”.
Sinn Féin gained 24.5% of first prefence votes in Ireland’s general election last February, ahead of both Fianna Fáil (22.2%) and Fine Gael (20.9%).
“I still believe that there is the basis for a Government of change with Sinn Fein in it, Sinn Fein driving it,"” she said.
“But I know that that effort has been frustrated by the fact that two blocks say they won’t talk to a party that almost a quarter of the electorate voted for.”
Ms. McDonald added: “I think refusal to engage, to acknowledge or to speak to us obviously keeps everybody back.
“That’s not a healthy or a democratic thing to do... indefensible.
“It’s not a sustainable position and I know it’s a position that has caused great offence and annoyance for the... hundreds of thousands who voted for us.”
Despite ongoing talks, there are growing concerns that discussion between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have reached an impasse in a move that could pave the way for a unity government made up of all three parties.
However, there has been a ground swell of support for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael in recent weeks with the latest Red C survey for the Business Post finding 35% of the electorate polled would give the ruling party their first preference vote if a snap election was held.
The Red C poll also showed 39% of respondents were in favour of Varadkar leading any potential coalition of parties.