Mary Lou McDonald, the President of Sinn Féin, said she would not be in support of a boycott of the traditional St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington, DC in light of the US response to the war in Gaza.

“I think you need to be very careful about any idea of boycotting, the Irish relationship with the United States is a very long standing one, a very valuable one, on many, many dimensions," McDonald told The Journal this week.

“I don’t think boycotting an event like that would resolve the issue at hand in the Middle East.”

She continued: “I think we need to be clear that that relationship for us is valuable, not least in terms of the evolution of our own peace process.

"But I certainly accept, and I have no doubt that the American system, if you listen to President Biden recently, he has acknowledged himself that Israel has lost the world. They have lost world opinion, for the simple reason that that no reasoned person, irrespective of the political spectrum they’re on, could witness that. Just stop, this has to stop.

“So I don’t think anybody should imagine that anybody in the American system is in any way confused about the Sinn Féin stance as regards Palestine, or indeed the Irish stance, the Irish public opinion on Palestine.

"And it’s interesting, if you look stateside, it’s different now. American public opinion is in a different place than it would have been saying a decade ago on this question."

In a tradition that dates back decades, Irish politicians, including the Taoiseach, head to Washington, DC every March for St. Patrick's Day events at the White House

McDonald was among the Irish politicians in Washington, DC this past March for the St. Patrick's Day events and shared this picture with President Biden on March 17:

President Biden's support for the Good Friday Agreement and the protection of Irish interests remains consistent and unequivocal. Go raibh maith agat @POTUS

— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) March 17, 2022

However, calls to boycott the annual visit in 2024 are gaining momentum as the US continues to shy away from calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The calls for boycott come after a number of Irish politicians and activists staged a protest of the US Ambassador's "joys of the season" holiday dinner at her residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

December 12, 2023: Protest at the US Ambassador's residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park. (

December 12, 2023: Protest at the US Ambassador's residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park. (

McDonald told The Journal that she has spoken to the US Ambassador to Ireland “quite recently” and other US officials where “the issue of Palestine did come up."

She said: “They know full well our analysis. I’m not shy about sharing it with them… America is very much on the right side of things in terms of the Irish peace process.

"I would like to see the United States very much on the right side of building peace in the Middle East."

Sinn Féin, as well as the main Irish political parties, has been consistent in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza since the conflict erupted in October. The US, however, has either abstained or vetoed several UN resolutions calling for a ceasefire, prompting growing criticism both in the US and Ireland.

On December 12, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire," the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as “ensuring humanitarian access." 153 members, including Ireland, voted in support; the US was among ten members who voted against.

Later, on December 22, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the ongoing crisis in Gaza, with 13 votes in favor. The US and Russia abstained from the vote.

Elsewhere on December 22, McDonald joined in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Dublin calling for a ceasefire:

Tonight from Dublin, we say to the people of Gaza, we will never stop speaking up for you, never stop marching for you, never stop demonstrating for you. We will not forget you. Not at Christmas. Not ever. Ceasefire Now! #ceasefire #CeasefireNOW #Palestine

— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) December 22, 2023

Earlier in December, Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan, welcoming the news that sportswear brand PUMA planned to end its Israeli sponsorship, said: “Sinn Féin will continue to support global boycott, divestment and sanctions that aim to bring an end to Israel’s illegal occupation and system of apartheid in Palestine."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported on December 22 that according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, at least 20,057 Palestinians have been killed (70% reported to be women and children) and 53,320 Palestinians have been reportedly injured in the Gaza Strip.

UNWRA added that according to OCHA, 293 Palestinians, including 76 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem since October 7.