Tuesday 25 June 2019

'I'm very sure Sinn Féin aren't cry-babies' - Mary Lou McDonald admits party will lose seats

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald pictured at the count centre in the RDS. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald pictured at the count centre in the RDS. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has conceded her party will lose seats in the local elections and said "today is the Greens' day".

Ms McDonald has denied she is "shell-shocked" with the expected loss of seats.

The expected loss of seats is the second lacklustre performance by Sinn Féin since Ms McDonald assumed the party leadership.

It had a disastrous showing in the race for Áras an Uachtaráin last year.

It was put to Ms McDonald that she had a bad day in the presidential election last October and another one today.

She was asked if there will be questions over her leadership if there's another poor performance in the next general election.

Ms McDonald was defiant in her response saying: "leaders are charged with leadership come what may.

"It's easy to lead and to be a political activist when things go your way and when the surge is on. Those are great days but you also have to be ready and fit for purpose when things are more challenging."

She said "Notwithstanding our disappointment, Sinn Féin remains a very strong organisation".

Earlier she outlined how her party won a hundred extra seats in the local elections in 2014.

"Our objective was to hold each and every one of those 100 seats but unfortunately that's not going to be the case.

"Today is the Green's day. They have surged on this occasion and more power to them.

"It would be foolish not to acknowledge that and to wish them well".

On the seats her party will lose she said: "it will be our objective from Monday when we recover to win all of those seats back."

In relation to the European Elections Ms McDonald insisted her party was still "in the hunt" for four seats, three in the south and one in the North.

She acknowledged that the three constituencies in the south are "tight contests".

During the interview, Ms McDonald appearsed to be losing her voice, which she put down to a cold.

She denied suggestions that she was shell-shocked saying:  "I have a cold. That doesn't constitute shell-shock."

She said there's disappointment but also added: "I'm also very sure that Sinn Féin aren't cry-babies.

"We'll dust ourselves down and we'll get back at it because that's what political activism is all about."

She said she believes there are a number of factors that impacted on her party including the "huge surge to the greens" which she said affected all the larger parties.

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