The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is taking place today
Mary Lou McDonald has described rival party Fianna Fáil as a form of “Sinn Féin lite” and accused the party of 'borrowing' their anti-water charges policy.
But she then inverted the criticism to try and compel Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, to commit to their plans to scrap the charges.
Speaking at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, she said:
"Fianna Fáil was never serious in its manifesto promise to scrap water charges. Now that you have (adopted our policy), we will hold you to that promise. Now we will hold you to that commitment. So scrap the water charges."
At Sinn Fein ard fheis. Among several terrific speeches, today's by Mary Lou McDonald was truly brilliant. Brought delegates to their feet.— Roy Greenslade (@GreensladeR) April 23, 2016
She then proceeded to address the current political impasse and accused the major parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of 'leaving the Dáil in cold storage.'
In the Convention Centre in Dublin, she added:
"But they cannot forever hold back the tide of political change. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then we Sinn Féiners are only scarlet from the compliment they (Fianna Fáil) have paid to us by borrowing our policies."
On the issue of partition, McDonald said that we need to strive for a Republic which encompasses all of the island's inhabitants. She said that the Ireland envisaged by our country's revolutionaries, "doesn’t end at Newry. The North is not a foreign land."