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By-election results show government is 'out of touch' - Sinn Féin

Fine Gael suffered a blow after failing to win any seats in four contests.

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald

YESTERDAY’S BY-ELECTION results showed the Government is “out of touch”, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said. 

Fine Gael suffered a blow after failing to win any seats in four by-elections which could be an indication before the country goes to the polls next year.

Fine Gael’s tight margin for passing laws with the support of the Independent Alliance will shrink further following the results of Friday’s vote.

Contests were ordered to fill vacancies left by TDs elected to the European Parliament in May.

McDonald said: “The vote was a clear rejection of the government’s housing and health policies and a vote for Sinn Fein’s proposals for the biggest public housing programme in decades, investment in public services and for planning for Irish unity.

“The result is significant for a number of reasons – it exposed a totally out of touch government which is failing to deliver for workers and families and a growing impatience among the people at a government wasting the economic growth of recent years.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faces a general election next spring while grappling with the ongoing impact of Brexit on Ireland’s economy.

Varadkar continues to face criticism from Fianna Fáil and left-wing opponents over issues like homelessness.

A vote of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy tabled by the Social Democrats is due to be held next week.

After a long day of counting yesterday, there are four new TDs in the Dáil. In Dublin Mid-West, Sinn Féin’s Mark Ward pulled off a surprise victory, while in Fingal Joe O’Brien won the Green Party’s first-ever by-election. 

In Cork North-Central and Wexford, Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan and Malcolm Byrne both took seats. 

But with a general election on the horizon, all parties will be looking at trends in yesterday’s results to see what any nationwide poll could hold in store for them. 

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