Independent Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has said those who don’t understand Sinn Féin’s abstentionism could gain an insight by walking around the Bogside.
The Falcarragh man said he understood the Sinn Féin position.
Senator Ó Domhnaill made the observation after bad-tempered exchanges in the Seanad between Sinn Féin Senator, Niall Ó Donnghaile, and Fine Gael Senator, Kieran O’Donnell.
“I understand why Sinn Féin MPs abstain from the House of Commons,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.
“One need only walk into places such as the Ardoyne or the Bogside in Derry to get an insight into why Sinn Féin MPs do not vote or take their seats in the House of Commons.
“It is a complicated historical and cultural issue. I do not blame those MPs for not taking their seats in the House of Commons and not voting,” said the Donegal senator.
Earlier in the debate the Limerick Senator, Kieran O’Donnell, had attacked Sinn Féin over its policy of not taking its seats in Westminter, which it has maintained for the past 113 years.
He claimed that “it was incumbent upon Sinn Féin to take [the Northern majority in favour of remaining in the EU] on board and to go into the House of Commons and vote for remain.”
But Senator Ó Donnghaile said that his party had stood for election on an abstentionist policy and added: “Senator Kieran O’Donnell’s party abstains from the North. He has some cheek.”