Sinn Féin slammed TD after ‘bragging’ claims about aid to refugees.

SINN Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has been criticized after he claimed the government was unwilling to spend money on its own people but was “bragging” about helping refugees.

Mary Lou McDonald has been forced to defend her party leadership after comments on Highland radio on Thursday morning were slammed by Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon, who said they were evidence of “scapegoats and others” by refugees arriving from Ukraine.

Referring to the Mica reparations program on his local radio station, Mr MacLochlainn said the government was unwilling to spend money “on its own people” but “boasts” about its spending on refugees.

“The Government complained of having to spend billions to help its own people in dire need whose lives have collapsed, buildings in Donegal and the West are collapsing around them and the same Government almost boasted to the world billions and to have rightly spent,” he said The nine to noon Show with Greg Hughes.

“This is our place in the world, we help refugees, every country in the world does that. But they have complained that they are doing the same for their own people and I think that has stuck in many minds and hearts and it gets to the heart of what is wrong with this administration’s approach.

“That their own people are in need and they don’t have the same urgency and passion for them.”

Mr Gannon said that “sowing divisions to highlight government failure is spectacularly unhelpful and utterly unacceptable” and urged Mr Mac Lochlainn to clarify or retract his comments.

“Scapegoats and others seeking refuge here do not reflect that call. We’ve seen it before and know too well how it ends,” said the Social Democrats’ TD.

Speaking in Ringsend Thursday morning, McDonald said the last thing Mr MacLochlainn or Sinn Féin would do was “sow division around people who are here seeking international protection and refuge”.

“We are very clear, the whole of society is very clear, that we need to take care of and support all those who are fleeing a terrible criminal bombardment by Putin and let me also say that the government is on the needs to respond to everyone’s needs that is considered fair and even one-handed,” she said.

“And let’s just state the lack of urgency, the definite lack of urgency on the part of this government to look after the housing and shelter needs of the people here for a very, very long time, and we are in no way choosing to to attend to either one or the other of these realities, you attend to both.”

She said that was “certainly” Mr Mac Lochlainn’s position, adding: “Pádraig has a very good reputation and a very strong position on social inclusion and he knows more than any of us would imagine that the Government and housing failure policies are the fault of someone other than the government itself. That is where the blame and responsibility lie.”

Mr MacLochlainn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr Gannon’s request for clarification or retraction of his comments. Sinn Féin slammed TD after ‘bragging’ claims about aid to refugees.

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