Irish Republican News · June 7, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
‘A good election for SF’ - Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the election had been a good one for the party and that key gains have been made.

Although its vote is up slightly from its 2007 general election result, it was slightly less than its previous local election outing in 2004.

In Dublin, the party lost three council seats, and is down to nine council seats across greater Dublin.

However, this was offset by gains in several constituencies, such as Wicklow where the party took two county seats, in Limerick, where Maurice Quinlivan broke through, in Waterford, Kerry, Carlow, Offaly, Mayo and Cork.

The party has also secured an increased vote in the European elections across the country and is well placed for any early general election in the 26 Counties. Nevertheless, the result of the European elections in Dublin will be critical, where leadership favourite Mary Lou McDonald is battling to keep her seat despite the reduction of the constituency from four to three seats.

Mr. Adams said: “I want to thank everyone who stood for the party, who worked for the party and especially those who voted for the party.

“This has been a good election for Sinn Féin. We came in with the aim of building upon our successful 2004 election and we have not only kept that number of councillors, but are on the verge of surpassing that number.

“We have made key gains in several constituencies, such as Wicklow where we took two county seats, in Limerick Maurice Quinlivan broke through, in Waterford, Kerry, Carlow, Offally, Mayo and Cork.

“There were some losses in Dublin, but the focus in Dublin was of course on the EU seat, where it appears that Mary Lou has polled very strongly.

“We have also polled very strongly with Padraig Mac Lochlainn, Toireasa Ferris, Kathleen Funchion and Tomas Sharkey and Bairbre de Brun will keep her MEP seat in the North.

“There has been a clear swing to the left and I am repeating the call that I made at our Ard Fheis in February for a left realignment in Irish politics. In Councils across the state there is now the potential to form left alliances and to start providing people with a real alternative in local government. Fianna Fail and the Greens has lost the moral authority to govern. It’s now time to call a general election.”

Counting of local election votes continues today with a trend emerging of heavy losses for both Government parties.

Fianna Fail are being particularly badly hit in urban areas and the Green Party has lost all its city and county council seats in Dublin, where its TDs are based.

Outside the capital the Greens have lost their seat in Carlow and one in Galway City, where Sinn Féin were also shut out.

The Labour Party has polled strongly in the capital and will be the biggest party in the Dubln local authority areas.

The counting of votes to elect 1,627 councillors in 114 local councils started yesterday at 9am and continued throughout the day and into yesterday evening. However, not all first preferences have yet been counted across the island.

Fine Gael has emerged as the largest party in local government with 31 per cent of first preference votes. Fianna Fail has been pushed into second place with 23 per cent of first preference votes. Labour has 17 per cent of the vote, Others also have 17 per cent, while Sinn Féin is on 7 per cent and the Green Party on 2 per cent.

The heavy losses suffered by Fianna Fail and the Greens, coupled with the strong showing for Fine Gael prompted Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny yesterday to announce a motion of no confidence in the Government.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey of Fianna Fail said this morning it was a “very very bad result” for the coalition government. He said the local election was “fought on the basis and lost on the basis of the very difficult decisions” that the Government had to make in relation to the economic crisis.

The election results are likely to set up a showdown within the Green Party between its two Ministers, who are determined to hold on to their cabinet positions, and its decimated grassroots organisation.

Green Party leader John Gormley said the party would meet next week to discuss a review of the programme for Government, although he said any withdrawal from Coalition was not on the agenda for the meeting of the party’s executive.

The election provided a significant boost to small left-wing groups in Dublin, such as the People before Profit Alliance, which now has five seats in Dublin councils, and the Socialist Party, which also gained council seats and is also in the mix for the last European Parliament seat in Dublin.

Elsewhere, Republican Sinn Féin’s Tomas O Curraoin appears in position for a breakthrough seat in Galway County Council representing the Conamara area.

Official declarations in the European elections are expected this evening at about 9pm, while a full count from the local elections should be available around the same time.

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© 2009 Irish Republican News