Mary Lou McDonald says being ill with Covid-19 ‘floored’ her

‘Every part of me hurt. It hurt to open my eyes. My eye sockets ached,’ says Sinn Féin leader

Mary Lou McDonald said she felt ‘very lucky’ having come through the illness. Photograph: RTÉ Player

Mary Lou McDonald said she felt ‘very lucky’ having come through the illness. Photograph: RTÉ Player

 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said her experience of being ill with Covid-19 “floored” her and that she had “never been as sick”.

Speaking on The Late Late Show on Friday night, Ms McDonald described her symptoms to Ryan Tubridy. “Every part of me hurt. It hurt to open my eyes. My eye sockets ached. All of my nerve endings were hyper sensitised,” she said.

Ms McDonald said it required “real effort” for her to be able to sustain a conversation while she was ill. “I’ve never experienced anything like it,” she said.

Ms McDonald had been tested for coronavirus on March 28th and received a positive diagnosis 16 days later. She said she felt “very lucky” having come through the illness as she was “conscious of other people who were a lot sicker – people who’d been hospitalised or people on ventilators”.

“Day after day, people were losing their lives and losing their loved ones. By any measure, any of us who come through this and come out the far end of it are lucky,” she said.

Ms McDonald said she had been extremely careful and had “absolutely no clue” how she contracted the virus and could “only speculate”.

“From the get-go, when it became evident that the virus was a public health danger, we closed everything down politically within the party and I was only dealing with a very limited circle of people. We were extremely careful, so it could have been anything,” she said.

Ms McDonald’s husband had also become ill with the virus, however, he has now recovered as well.

She appealed to the public to continue to follow the public health advice and stay at home. “None of this is easy for anyone but as hard as it is, it’s a sacrifice worth making because the alternative is that we go back into circulation that this virus spreads and that it costs a huge number of lives,” she said.

Speaking in relation to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael ruling out a coalition with Sinn Féin, Ms McDonald said it was “wrong” for the two parties to ignore “the half a million people who voted for Sinn Féin” in the last election.

“It’s about a whole section of the Irish electorate and Irish society and it’s all the more shameful in a circumstance where we have a public health emergency and a global pandemic,” she said.