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"We want to use our mandate wisely" - Gerry Adams vows to build on election gains

Adams said that his party could now be the biggest in Dublin as well as Belfast.

Updated 8pm 

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has said today marks a “step change in politics” as his party looks set to enjoy huge success in the local elections as well as take three seats in the European elections.

Sinn Féin is also on course to become the largest party on Dublin City Council and speaking at the Dublin West by-election count in Citywest this evening, Adams said that the party is “very ambitious”. 

He said: “We need two things, one is to be in government – a mandate – the other one is an agreed programme for government. The second could be more challenging than the first. The other parties are now wedded to conservatism, austerity.”

He said that the party wants to see a “realignment of politics” which he hopes would be “accelerated after this election”. 

He said he did not know if his recent arrest in relation to the murder of Jean McConville had an impact on the Sinn Féin result but said it galvanised party supporters.

The Louth TD said: “We don’t know. We don’t know who might have voted for us but didn’t.

“What we do know is it galvanised our own activists and I would like to think that the way that we responded to those events was positive and that that may have helped.”

Speaking earlier this evening on LMFM Radio, Adams said that he has heard some members of Government condescendingly dismissing Sinn Féin’s gains as “the people giving us a scolding”.

Instead he says what has happened is that the people have given ‘profound notice that that want to quit this type of politics”.

“We’re the largest party in Derry, in Belfast, in Mid-Ulster and perhaps now in Dublin and Meath,” he said.

I keep stressing in my interviews, we want to use our mandate wisely, people are hurting, it’s what I’m hearing when I talk to people…I would appeal to people who seek change. I’d appeal to people to join the party, we’re here to build a democratic republican party across the island of Ireland.

The national picture isn’t clear yet but Sinn Féin are set to have their largest ever participation in many local councils throughout the country with Dublin European candidate Lynn Boylan gaining the biggest voting share according to exit polls.

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Adams says that the party didn’t have the “resources, infrastructure or capacity” to run the number of candidates or scale of campaign he would have wanted but that the party will build from their result.

“I think we have been mandated to change, this is a change of the political landscape in this state. Sinn Féin is here and Sinn Féin is here to stay,” he added.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell

LIVEBLOG: Local election results 2014 >

Read: Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so far >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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