Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has confirmed she will be in attendance at Saturdays’s Standing Together rally in Drogheda, marking her second visit to the town in five days.
McDonald spoke at the campaign launch of Louth general election candidate Imelda Munster at the West Court Hotel on Monday night and will return again to participate in the rally on Saturday afternoon. The party president has written to Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell to confirm her attendance at the event.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had been non-committal about attending last Friday when he said he would consider attending the event should his schedule allow it. Mayor Bell had since issued an official invite to the Taoiseach. But he commented today that he does intend to be in Drogheda.
“I do intend to be there. My office is in contact with the Mayor of Drogheda on the arrangements. I do want to be there to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Drogheda, but I don’t want to politicise the event in any way either. We want to make sure we have the arrangements right,” he said.
Also speaking today, Deputy Munster said she was pleased Mary Lou McDonald would return to Drogheda and said she hoped to encourage more people to attend on Saturday.
‘We need a huge crowd to come out on Saturday to show these people that we will not stand for the horrific violence inflicted
upon the town by these criminals. These thugs will not hold my town, our town, and its people to ransom.
‘This rally will send a clear message to those involved that we, the people of Drogheda, are taking our town back,” she wrote on social media.
‘It will also send a clear message to government that we refuse to keep having to beg for resources. Drogheda deserves to have the full
force of the law behind us, just like other communities have. That’s all we’re asking for.
‘Drogheda is a fantastic town. We have the very best of people here. These criminals will not break our community spirit. I’m encouraging anyone who is available to attend the march to make sure that these people here us loud and clear – these thugs will not hold our town to ransom.’
Earlier in the week, Garda Chief Superintendent for Louth echoed those sentiments, calling on as many people as possible to attend. “I would encourage everybody and I mean everybody in Drogheda to come in and show the people of Ireland we’re standing up for our time,” he commented.
“Through fear, comes courage. We have to have courage. I have no doubt we will. It will be a well planned meeting where people come in and express their opinion. We will make sure they are safe.”