Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she was frightened and shaken from the experience of contracting Covid-19.

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 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."

But Ms McDonald also said that while there should be credit for the strategy, advice and public response, that this is not a time for what she described as "backslapping".

She also 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 said Sinn Féin is still in contact with other politicians about government formation.

Ms McDonald also described Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's refusal to deal with Sinn Féin is "arrogance" and "shameful" in the context of a public health emergency.

"These two parties have held power for almost a century ... they are not going to give ground easily."

Ms McDonald also said she accepted responsibility for not running more candidates in the general election but that her party was repositioning after some difficult electoral performances.

She said she believes another election is unlikely in the short-term but that if another one were to take place, Sinn Féin would look to defend and build on the seats it won earlier this year.