"I didn’t see a problem" - Lynn Boylan on the controversial banner Mary Lou McDonald held in New York
"England will get out of Ireland, given any excuse Britain will get out."
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald came under fire for her decision to march behind a banner reading "England Get Out of Ireland" at the St Patrick's Day parade in New York.
The Dublin Central TD was criticised by Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the time who called her actions offensive and divisive.
Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan was this week's guest on Ireland Unfiltered and she spoke with host Dion Fanning about the the incident, saying she thought it was hypocritical for some people to be offended by the banner when people react a certain way to England playing in the World Cup.
The former MEP stated the banner has been at the parade for many years and admitted she found it "frustrating" that some things are "seized upon for political gain."
"I didn’t see a problem with the banner to be honest because the banner has been in the parade for decades," Boylan said.
"I just again I find it really hypocritical that people are so offended by a banner and yet the same people if England were playing Ireland and the way that we react when England are playing in the World Cup and everybody gets in on that."
When asked by Fanning if Mary Lou's statement by walking with the banner is a bit different, Boylan said: "Well no, when I lived in Kerry my next door neighbour was from London and she hated it.
"She couldn’t understand, she felt awful when she’d go in to watch England playing in a football match and that everybody in the pub would be against the English. So we all engage in that sort of rivalry."
"But Sinn Féin are bringing something else to it like that’s what I’m saying," Fanning said. "You can’t on one hand say this banner is historical and it’s always been there and then ask people 'Well just look at this the same way you would look at wanting England to lose in a football match' and forget about Sinn Féin’s history in that regard, in regard to the IRA’s campaign of terror.
"It’s hard to say you shouldn't - they’re not really the same."
Boylan said that the banner said England, and it was not targeting the English people themselves.
"Yes but do we not want a united Ireland?" Boylan asked. "Do we not want England to finally leave having a role on this island?
"England will get out of Ireland, given any excuse Britain will get out. One of the most likely things that’s going to happen once Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister is that he’ll betray the DUP. They will cut Northern Ireland adrift as quickly as they can."