Irish Republican News · November 29, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sinn Fein seeks to build on by-election win

The result of the Donegal South West by-election has changed the balance of power in the Dublin parliament, with Sinn Fein poised to create a ‘technical group’ over the last weeks and months of the current Dail.

Newly elected Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said his win vindicated his decision to take a High Court action to force the government to hold the long-delayed by-election.

In his victory speech at the count centre in Stranorlar, Mr Doherty told his cheering supporters: “This is the election this government never wanted to happen, and maybe the result will tell you why.”

With an extraordinary 40% of the first preference vote, the result was never in doubt at the Finn Valley Athletics Club in Stranorlar.

Mr Doherty was finally declared elected at 6.42pm following the distribution the votes of Independent candidate Thomas Pringle on the fourth count, almost half of which went to the Sinn Fein contender.

“This is a historic day,” Mr Doherty said, “and I’m absolutely blown away by the support of the people of Donegal South West.”

He said the voters had also endorsed Sinn Fein’s policy of refusing to hand over sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said there was a clear message from the by-election result: “The government should go.”

“I think there is also a lesson for the Labour Party leadership, because Labour and Fine Gael stood here,” he said. “People had a range of good candidates to choose from: they decided to go for Pearse and for Sinn Fein.

“It was implicit in Labour’s message that they would form a government with Fine Gael: people rejected that.”

It was also noted by those present that the combined first-preferences for Doherty, McBrearty and Pringle showed the candidates of the left pulling in more than 60 per cent of the vote -- in a constituency which would normally be considered ultra-conservative.

The result means Brian Cowen’s dependence on Independents Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry is greater than ever.

Meanwhile, the anti-government Independent TDs for Dublin North Central and Dublin Central, Finian McGrath and Maureen O’Sullivan respectively, are holding discussions with Sinn Fein to form a technical group.

The group would have a status similar to the other parties including the right to take part in Leaders’ Questions. It would also mean that Sinn Fein’s current motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach can be brought to the floor of the House, and allow full participation in Leaders’ Questions, generally the most high-profile part of the Dail day.

A group of this type existed in the last Dail from 2002-2007.

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