THE Sinn Féin leader has said the lack of Gardaí being posted to Cork is “a recipe for disaster.”
Mary Lou McDonald was in Cork today to canvass with Cllr Thomas Gould ahead of the Cork North Central by-election.
Speaking to The Echo, she referenced recent reports that just two Gardaí were available for patrol one night in Cork earlier this year, and said that the incident on Patrick’s Street two weeks ago - where around 100 youths organised to raid a sports shop - was crazy.
“I know that it’s become particularly dangerous here in Cork.
"I’m looking at videos and I’m hearing reports of young people out on the rampage and people being threatened. In my view crimes like that happen when the opportunity is created for them to happen.
"That’s not to excuse anybody’s bad behaviour - the young people who are at this should stop,” she said.
She says that more Gardaí are needed: “It’s all about visibility. That’s what gives people a sense of security.”
Meanwhile, Deputy McDonald said that trying to get two sitting candidates elected in the general election would be a dilemma she would “dearly look forward to.”
Sinn Féin already has TD Jonathan O’Brien elected in the Cork North Central constituency, and are now hopeful that Cllr Thomas Gould will take Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher's old seat.
“This isn’t Fianna Fáil’s seat. It’s the people’s seat, and the people of Cork North Central need to make their decision,” Deputy McDonald said.
The Sinn Féin leader hasn’t ruled out a coalition with any party following the next general election: “I’ll talk to everybody but it won’t be about just to get into Government for the sake of it, but to establish really can we agree a programme for Government."
However, she said among the non-negotiables for the party are sorting out housing and health, working on climate issues honestly and not just by adding a carbon tax, and also establishing a forum to talk about Irish unity and Ireland post-Brexit.
“This is happening around us. History is being written now. There is going to be a referendum, and we need to be prepared. We saw across the water what happens if you walk into a big change without having done your homework,” she said.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has rejected the idea of a border poll within five years, but Mary Lou McDonald said: “Simon Coveney can take his position and that’s fine, but he has to realise that Brexit has changed everything.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Cllr Thomas Gould will host a public meeting on the party’s insurance reform plan on Wednesday evening.
The meeting will be open to the public and will discuss the extortionate costs of insurance throughout the state for businesses and ordinary consumers.
The event takes place at 7.30pm in the Metropole Hotel.