Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said it is "entirely wrong" for anyone to suggest that there was anything "improper" about her political activities in her Dublin Central constituency.

She was responding to allegations which emerged in a gangland trial in Dublin that she associated with the family of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch in order to secure money and votes.

Speaking on the BBC NI Sunday Politics show, Ms McDonald praised the gardaí for their "sterling work", adding: "I'm certainly not going to say anything that would in any way jeopardise or undermine or influence the outcome of that important trial."

The claims emerged in the Special Criminal Court where Gerry Hutch is on trial for the murder of David Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall was secretly recorded making the claims and criticising Ms McDonald for not attending the funeral of the brother of the murder accused.

The Sinn Féin leader went on to say that her political opponents were using the trial for their own ends.

"I'm not surprised at all because the reality is that across the island, the mood for change is obvious."