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Mary Lou McDonald, Cathal King and Gerry Adams in Tallaght today Hugh O'Connell via
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Gerry Adams: 'The big losers here are the government'

The Sinn Féin president insists the party never said it was going to win the Dublin South-West Dáil seat.

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has insisted that the big losers in the two Dáil by-elections are the government despite his party failing to win either of the votes.

Sinn Féin narrowly lost out in the Dublin South-West by-election this evening with councillor Cathal King losing to Socialist Paul Murphy by 566 votes in what is a bitter blow to the opposition party which had been widely expected to win the seat.

“We never said we were going to win this seat,” Adams insisted this evening at the count centre in Tallaght. “Elements of the media, some of the pundits, said that Cathal was going to walk in, that he was a sure thing. We never said that.”

“We said the contrary, we said it would be a hard battle, it’s a very volatile constituency and it could end up as it’s ended up, that we would top the poll and then lose out on transfers.”

He said that the government needed to heed the message from the two by-elections with neither Fine Gael nor Labour coming close to winning in DSW or Roscommon South-Leitrim.

The Louth TD insisted: “The big losers here are the government because the big losers since this government came in have been the people. As they come to bring forward their Budget next week, they need to contemplate the outcome of these elections.”

Despite the disappointing loss in Dublin, Adams claimed the party has made a “huge advance” from its position in the constituency at the last general election.

“We only narrowly lost the seat, we’re not the government party, you’re not talking to Enda Kenny here,” he insisted. “The electorate didn’t give us a wallop, you’re not talking to the Labour Party leader, the Tánaiste, here.”

On water charges Adams insisted that Sinn Féin’s belief was that a lot of people are simply not in a position to pay their bills.

Expanding on that, the Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the party’s opposition to charges was not like the Socialists in calling for an all-out boycott.

“Families will have to decide from themselves what they want to do. So we’re not in the business of going around telling families how to deal with their domestic business,” she said.

New TD’s call for water boycott: ‘If people stick together we can beat this thing’

Read: Cathal King admits Sinn Féin’s policy on water charges ‘confused’ voters

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