Sinn Fein will be in government, if not after this election then after the next, party president Gerry Adams has said.
“The issue of whether Sinn Fein is in government or not is only a matter of when.
“If we can get a mandate this time and negotiate a coalition deal with other parties, then we will be in government. If not, then if God spares us all, we will run a bigger number of candidates next time out.”
Mr Adams, who was launching the general election campaign of the party’s candidate in Cork South Central, Councillor Donnchadh O Laoghaire, was reluctant to be drawn on how many seats it would win.
“I am not going to speculate on that- it’s the people day - nobody can predict but I have a sense travelling around there is an urgent longing by a certain section to get things done differently.”
Asked about Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin’s comments that Fianna Fail was a left of centre party with a commitment to investment in public services, Mr Adams replied: “I think in fairness, Fianna Fail historically was the party that got most working class and small farmer votes across the state as a young party in the ‘30s and it drew the same support beyond that.
“But it lost its way with [the former fundraising initiative] Taca and the men in mohair suits in the 1960s and into the 1970s.”
Nonetheless, Mr Adams said, “the base of Fianna Fail and very large sections of Fianna Fail remain very republican.”
Mr Adams said the current government needed to be “dumped” as it, and particularly Fine Gael, had focused on just one particular demographic and were ignoring large sections of the population.
“It doesn’t care about the people who are protesting about water charges, it doesn’t care about the people who are annoyed about property taxes or people on hospital trolleys,” he said.
Mr Adams later travelled to Dublin where he launched the election campaign in Dublin Central of Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.
He said Sinn Fein was the largest party on Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council and the joint largest party in Fingal, and would now push to be the largest party nationally.
“Where Sinn Fein is part of progressive alliances on Dublin councils we have delivered for the electorate,” he said.
He said that property tax had been reduced by the maximum 15 per cent for two successive years and vowed that if elected to government, Sinn Fein would abolish the tax in its entirety.
“We have delivered an extra 21 million euros in funding for homeless services in the City. We have delivered additional money for social housing repairs, for the celebration of the centenary of the 1916 Rising and towards library services.
“Sinn Fein is delivering but local government is limited. That’s why we need a Sinn Fein-led government, with a strong team of Dublin Sinn Fein TDs that will deliver for Dublin,” he said.