Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Collins TD, has criticised Sinn Féin for its decision to attend the Presidential inauguration of Venezuela’s, Nicolás Maduro. Deputy Collins was speaking following President Maduro’s inauguration ceremony which was attended by Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin MLA and Dawn Doyle, General Secretary of Sinn Féin.

“Since Mr Maduro first came to power in 2013 there has been an increase in human rights violations and a shrinking of civic and political space. Mr Maduro has stifled dissent, targeted the opposition and has presided over the collapse of the economy which has led to sky rocketing inflation and a shortage of food and medicines. Venezuelans are leaving the country in their thousands and yet Sinn Féin continues to support the Maduro regime and saw fit to send representatives to his inauguration.

“Questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the election with reports of vote buying and election fraud. In the aftermath of the election the European Council issued a statement stating that the ‘presidential and regional polls went ahead without national agreement on an electoral calendar and without complying with the minimum international standards for a credible process, not respecting political pluralism, democracy, transparency and rule of law’. In light of this how can Sinn Féin state that Mr Maduro was democratically elected and continue to support him.

“It is clear that Sinn Féin only supports and advocates for human rights and democracy when it suits them. They claim they are attending the Presidential inauguration to show solidarity with the Venezuelan people, but the reality is that they are attending the inauguration to show solidarity with Mr Maduro and his anti-democratic regime. This is just another example of why Sinn Féin is unfit for Government. The reality is if Mary-Lou McDonald and her Party had any credibility they would renounce Mr Maduro and his actions”, concluded Deputy Collins.