world : Sinn Féin leader has 'no plans to step down' after election

world : Sinn Féin leader has 'no plans to step down' after election
world : Sinn Féin leader has 'no plans to step down' after election

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:50 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Mary Lou McDonald has said she has no plans to step down as leader of Sinn Féin, following disappointing election results for the party.

Ireland's main opposition party have performed worse than expected in local elections amid concerns that they had run too many candidates in certain areas.

Ms McDonald has said she will lead a full review into Sinn Féin's performance.

"Obviously we are disappointed," she said.

"It hasn't been our day, clearly frustrations - anger, indeed - with government policy on this occasion have translated into votes for independents and others," Ms McDonald said.

"We will regroup. I am sorry that we did not do better. I know that we can do better."

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Simon Harris responded: “I think what Sinn Féin need to realise here is the Irish people see through the noise.

"The Irish people don’t believe they live in a failed state, the Irish people don’t believe in all of the negativity."

Mr Harris said he was "absolutely delighted" with his party Fine Gael's performance "right across the country, in rural Ireland and urban Ireland".

Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) and Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin said his party had performed "far better" than predicted.

Counting is currently ongoing for three sets of elections in the Republic of Ireland for local councils, the European parliament, and a mayoral race in Limerick city.

Results so far indicate that government coalition partners Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will be the largest parties in local government, with independents also faring well.

The polls will provide political parties with an insight into voter sentiment ahead of the next general election, which must be held by March 2025.

This is Mary Lou McDonald's second local election as party president.

In 2019 the party's local government representation collapsed to 81.

Ms McDonald was under severe pressure at the time to improve her party's polling, which was then bolstered by its most successful general election in their history.

Now she is once again under pressure, as it has fallen in opinion polls and are seeing losses across local authorities.

Mary Lou McDonald looked glum when she entered the count centre at the RDS in Dublin.

This was an appearance neither she nor her party had anticipated.

Right up to the end of polling on Friday night, they were preparing for election celebrations. They expected this to be their big moment for a big political breakthrough.

It didn’t happen.

Now the party faces many questions.

Why did so many people who wanted change opt for independent candidates, from a wide variety of social and community backgrounds, instead of Sinn Féin?

The failure to capture these votes will sting. For years now, Sinn Féin has styled itself as the party with its ear closest to the ground, the party most in tune with communities up and down the country.

Something, somewhere seems to have been lost in transmission.

Sources within Sinn Féin told the BBC that there was a feeling among some local groups that head office were not listening to those on the ground when it came to candidate selection.

"What we're going to do is review and reflect on all of those things," Ms McDonald told the BBC.

"Everything for the review is on the table," she said.

"I will lead this reflection and this process. When the going gets tough, that's the point at which leaders step forward, they don't step down.

"I lead a party with immense talent and immense potential, we don't always get it right. We clearly have lessons to learn."

The Sinn Féin president said that she would prefer a general election "tomorrow morning" and the party will not be looking again at their manifesto.

She denied that Sinn Féin's tougher stance on immigration in recent months had affected their performance.

The party had suggested means testing asylum seekers in recent weeks.

Immigration featured as one of the key issues in the election campaign.

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