Mary Lou McDonald urges Executive formation under joint leadership of Michelle O'Neill

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Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald urged the immediate formation of a new Executive under the joint leadership of 'First Minister-to-be' Michelle O'Neill following an historic election for the party.

"Politics is about partnership, it's about fair play," said the Sinn Féin leader during a visit to the Magherafelt count centre.

She urged the DUP to sit down and agree the formation of a new power-sharing Executive with her party poised to be confirmed the largest party at Stormont for the first time.

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"The idea, at a time of a cost of living crisis, that people would stand on the sidelines and allow people to struggle, and struggle badly for us is unthinkable, so we would appeal to everybody to take stock," she said.

Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou McDonald at MagherafeltMichelle O'Neill and Mary Lou McDonald at Magherafelt
Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou McDonald at Magherafelt

Ms. O'Neill, who will become the first nationalist or republican First Minister in the north if an Executive is formed was asked whether this election paved the way for constitutional change.

She said a 'very healthy conversation' is already underway about the reunification of Ireland.

Ms. McDonald said unionists have nothing to fear from a Sinn Féin first ministry,

"Don't be scared the future is bright," she said.