She asked the Irish people to “give us the chance to make big change”

The Sinn Féin President has said it is not for Leo Varadkar or Micheál Martin to decide whether Sinn Fein enter government.

Mary Lou McDonald told her party’s Ard Fheis in Belfast that the people will decide, and they will be respected.

“To those who are on an agenda to exclude us; I invite them to wake up and smell the coffee,” she said.

“To realise that Irish political life is no longer dictated by them.

“It is no longer their way of the highway – because we are here and we are equal.”

She said the party will use the next election to ask the Irish people to “give us the chance to make big change.”

Her comments come as the latest opinion poll shows support for Sinn Féin is at 24% - unchanged since last month.

Support for the Government is up five points to 46% - with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are both up one point, to 31% and 24% respectively.

Ms McDonald also warned that Brexit is one test the Government cannot flunk.

Noting that the upcoming European Summit is crunch time for Brexit negotiations; she said that if Britain fails to provide an answer on a hard border, we should 'call them out.'

“There can be no question of progressing to the next phase of these negotiations in the absence of an answer to the Irish question,” she told delegates