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fighting words

Coalition bullish and sticks the boot in, saying predictions of SF-led Govt ‘have been shattered’

Questions are being asked today around whether Sinn Féin has run too many candidates across the country.


THE THREE COALITION parties are bullishly optimistic at election count centres today with both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael appearing to hold their vote in early tallies.  

The Green Party also seems to have performed better than expected, though there are concerns being raised about whether the party will lose an MEP. 

Questions are being asked today around whether Sinn Féin ran too many candidates across the country. 

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe told reporters that early indications are “positive” for his party, telling reporters that Fine Gael ran a “high energy” campaign under the new leadership of Simon Harris. 

Singling out one local electoral area (LEA), he said Fine Gael believes it is on track to double its vote versus the last local election in Cabra-Glasnevin.

“We’re going to be, I hope, on the verge of winning a second seat in that ward. So early signs are positive,” he said. 

War of words 

Hitting out at Sinn Féin, he said the party is a “one-trick pony”. 

“That one trick isn’t working for them at the moment,” said Donohoe. 

“But as I look at all of this, the idea that this is a government and a party that’s running out of steam, that narrative has been shattered by the tallies that are coming through,” he said. 

“The other narrative that has been shattered is that there’s an inevitability about Sinn Fein going into government,” the minister said. 

“He would say that,” Dublin Sinn Féin European election candidate Daithí Doolan retorted. 

“There has been nobody elected here today, no votes have been counted, and here we have Fine Gael yet again, grasping at straws. They are not talking about the housing crisis, they are not talking about the asylum-seeking crisis, they are not talking about the climate crisis, they are talking about Sinn Féin again, because they are obsessed with us,” said Doolan. 

He went on to state that he would like to think he is still in with a shot to take a seat in Brussels, but said the priority is for Lynn Boylan to be returned to Strasbourg. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, deputy leader of Sinn Féin Pearse Doherty TD remarked that his party rebounded in the 2020 general election after a rather disappointing local election in 2019.

“I think people are sophisticated enough to know the difference between a local European election and a general election and we’ve been here before. I think we’ve had this conversation five years ago where we had a disappointing election at that time. Yet eight months, nine months later, we were seeing some of our candidates who lost out actually being elected as TDs,” he said.

The Donegal TD emphasised that the results of this election will not slow down Sinn Féin’s push for overhaul in the government.

I think people are very clearly, when we were having the conversations at the door, they’re talking about change, they want change and clearly they want a change of government.

He added: “We had the conversations with people on the doorstep. We need to listen to those, we’ll come back and dust ourselves down no matter what the results are. We know that we’re determined to deliver change in this country.”

Speaking in Cork today, Tánaiste Micheál Martin also seemed cautiously optimistic about Fianna Fáil’s performance.  

Fianna Fail is doing “far better” than predicted, he said. 

He said the party will gain an MEP seat in the Midlands-North-West constituency for the first time in 15 years.

“The idea that Fianna Fáil would be coming in a distant third is completely disproven,” the Tánaiste said at Cork City Hall today.

“I’ve been looking at opinion polls now for the last three years. This ‘internet panel’ polling having Fianna Fail at 14% and 15% – clearly Fianna Fáil will be well ahead of that and will be over 20% by the time all of these counts are collated and put together.

“We put up a very robust performance and we’re holding our own compared to our performance in the general election of 2020,” said Martin.

He said the focus from this government will now be on producing an “effective budget” in the autumn, that can deal with housing and helping the elderly in particular.

Martin re-committed that the government will “go full term” and batted of suggestions that there could be an early election. He commented that local elections are not always predictors of the general election. 

When asked about the success of independent candidates, the Tánaiste said independents that are elected to local authorities across the country “will be varied and diverse”.

“I would say to all independents, not just those to the far-right, you too have an obligation to make sure that city councils run efficiently and effectively,” he added. 

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