Last year, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald gave an extensive interview to Russian television news channel RT.
he station, formerly known as Russia Today, has been accused of being a propaganda machine for Vladimir Putin’s regime. The EU said this week it was taking the unprecedented step of banning the channel along with another public channel, Sputnik, from broadcasting and satellite TV in member states, while Google banned two YouTube channels.
In the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, Sinn Féin said last night it was no longer giving interviews to RT, which described itself as a “stand-alone” operation funded by the Russian Federation.
Ms McDonald gave an 18-minute interview to RT on go underground with Afshin Rattansi on February 26 last year in which Ms McDonald was described as ‘the leader of Ireland’s most popular party’ and ‘Eire’s leader of the opposition’.
The interview mainly touched on issues related to Northern Ireland, including remedies for victims of the Troubles, the Covid-19 crisis, Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol, a border poll and the lists waiting in hospitals.
At one point she hailed Rita O’Hare, one of Sinn Féin’s top US fundraisers, as “an extraordinary and exceptional woman” whom she encouraged Mr Rattansi to interview. Mrs. O’Hare is wanted in the UK in connection with an investigation into the attempted murder of a British soldier.
Ms McDonald also denied Ireland was a US ‘aircraft carrier’ whose troops landed at Shannon Airport and said Ireland was ‘militarily neutral’.
Answer questions from the Irish Independent Last night a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: ‘This interview is over a year old and focused exclusively on Irish affairs and Irish issues. Sinn Féin no longer gives interviews with RT.
Mr Rattansi strongly criticized the ban on RT and yesterday said on Twitter that Eir’s decision to remove RT and RT Documentaries from its TV platform meant that Ireland “de facto approves of media censorship at the ‘RT continental scale’.