Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has spoken of her “frightening” battle with coronavirus.
Appearing on RTÉ’s Late Late Show, she told Ryan Tubridy: “I have never been as sick as I was, every part of me hurt, it hurt to open my eyes, my eye sockets ached.”
She said she feels very lucky because she was conscious of other people “who were a lot sicker than me in hospitals and ventilators”.
Ms McDonald said it was a “very strange feeling” to discover that you have the virus.
She said she has no idea how she contracted it. “I could not believe this virus came into my house, we have no clue as it how it happened”.
“I felt absolutely awful. The point that frightened me came over the Easter weekend when I had shortness of breath. My husband panicked.
“My husband doesn’t panic, he’s the calmest person on earth, but at that moment he panicked”.
Sinn Féin leader @MaryLouMcDonald on her own experience with the coronavirus. #LateLatepic.twitter.com/lc2FribTZY
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) April 24, 2020
“I now fully understand what a  frightening prospect this virus is for an older person or anyone with a serious underlying condition.”
Ms McDonald said she suffered from asthma herself. “I don’t have great lungs.”
Her husband fell sick a few days after she did and was diagnosed positive for coronavirus. “It did not floor him as badly as me. Our children have all been fine, thankfully.”
She is now back at work and “feeling grand and very, very lucky. I was scared at times.”
Asked about how the Government was handling the crisis, Ms McDonald said now was not the time for a political bunfight but some shortcomings are evident, for example in nursing homes.
“We need to redeploy more nursing staff to nursing homes.
“We need testing and contact tracing to be right if we are to unwind emergency measures – it has to be done safely.”
Mary Lou McDonald said she still wants to be Taoiseach and believes she can be.
“The maths are messy” when it comes to forming the new government but “there is some way to go … I don’t think it’s over” she said of Sinn Féin being part of that government.
She described Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as arrogant. “These two parties have held power for almost a century … they are not going to give ground easily.”