McCallion brands Foster’s ‘blonde’ description of O’Neill as ‘sexist’

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Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion has branded DUP leader Arlene Foster’s description of Michelle O’Neill as ‘blonde’ and ‘very attractive’ as sexist and called on her to withdraw what she described as her ‘disparaging remarks’.

Mrs. McCallion said it was ironic Mrs. Foster felt it was acceptable to focus on her party leader in the North’s appearance just months after the former First Minister had complained of being the victim of misogyny herself.

The Sinn Féin Westminster candidate for Foyle, said: “The sexist and disparaging remarks made by Arlene Foster in relation to Michelle O’Neill are nothing short of disgraceful.

“It is totally unacceptable in the 21st Century for a political leader to characterise another political leader based on the colour of their hair.

“The irony of talking about sexism and misogyny appears to be totally lost on Arlene Foster when she makes such remarks about others.”

Mrs. McCallion was reacting following an interview, which was published in the Sunday Independent, during which Mrs. Foster, upon being asked what word she assoicated with the Sinn Féin leader in the North, answered “blonde”.

“Michelle is very attractive. She presents herself very well and she always is, you know, her appearance is always very, ‘the same’.

“You never see her without her make-up. You never see her without her hair (looking) perfect,” she was quoted by the paper as stating.

Mrs. McCallion said: “For Arlene Foster to talk in such a disparaging manner about someone she supposedly wants to share power with once again highlights the DUP’s lack of acceptance of the principles of equality, integrity and respect.

“It is also clear that she is still in denial about her own disastrous failures as architect of the RHI scheme, its potential to take almost £500m out of public services and the damage RHI and other financial scandals associated with the DUP did to public confidence in the political institutions.

“Arlene Foster and the DUP need to immediately withdraw these offensive remarks which do a disservice to women in politics and to equality and respect.”