Mary Lou McDonald: Time to face down DUP wreckers

History will judge Theresa May “very badly” if she “hitches her wagon” to the DUP and other Brexiteers, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has warned.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the prime minister in London, the Dublin Central TD said Mrs May “needs to listen to the majority of the people in the North who reject a hard border and seek to remain within the customs union and single market”.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media at College Green in Westminster, London, after meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 15, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media at College Green in Westminster, London, after meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 15, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

While she said she believed there was a deal to be made, Ms McDonald added: “It can only be made if the British government throw off the shackles of the DUP – who seem to live in an alternative reality – the deal can only be arrived at if there is a proper enforceable backstop that protects Irish interests.

“It is time for the British prime minister to place the long-term interest of Ireland and Britain above a short-term deal with the DUP. It is time for Theresa May to live up to her obligations, commitments, and agreements. It is time for Theresa May to demonstrate leadership and to face down the wreckers in the DUP.”

She warned there was a “real danger” of a no deal, adding: “There has always been a danger that, as much by accident as by design, the Tory government could crash into the cul-de-sac of a no-deal Brexit. I very much hope that is not the case.”

Meanwhile, Ms McDonald urged the Irish government to “hold its nerve” in the current impasse.

“I think it’s imperative that the Irish government holds its nerve, I think it’s imperative that our European partners do as Michel Barnier promised and don’t blink.

“We are not asking for anything unreasonable. We are making the very reasonable assertion that Ireland cannot be the collateral damage in a Tory Brexit.”

She warned that a hard Brexit would be followed by “an immediate demand for a referendum on Irish unity”.

“It’s decision time now for Mrs May,” the SF leader added.

“She can chose to do the right thing by Ireland, the thing that demonstrates foresight, the thing that demonstrates responsible politics. Or she can tie herself to the DUP.”