Sinn Fein ‘ready’ for European elections in Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein is ready to fight European elections in Northern Ireland, its party president has said.

Mary Lou McDonald and other senior party leadership figures discussed the prospect of a poll north of the border at a meeting of the Sinn Fein ruling council in Dublin on Saturday.

“If an election happens, we will fight the election. We are ready,” she said.

“One of the uncertainties is around the whole issue of elections in the north, whether or not there will be European elections.

“We will be ensuring that we will be prepared, and above all this is about protecting Irish interests.

“It never ceases to shock me the extent to which our nearest neighbours can disregard the effects of their actions or inactions on all of us who live in this island.”

Sinn Fein has one outgoing MEP representing Northern Ireland, and three representing the Irish Republic.

The party is already campaigning south of the border ahead of May’s European poll.

Mrs McDonald said a no-deal Brexit remains a “real and live possibility”.

She said the democratic mandate of people in Northern Ireland to remain in the EU must be acknowledged.

The Sinn Fein president said commitments made by the UK and EU to protect the Good Friday Agreement and ensure no hardening of the border also have to be honoured.

“We look across the water with some despair at the chaos in Westminster,” she said.