Sinn Féin leader: You have to have all-weather politics

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has conceded that her party will suffer some losses in the 26 County local elections, but she said: ‘Beidh lá eile againn’ [We will have another day].

Arriving at the count centre in Dublin’s RDS on Saturday evening she said Sinn Féin benefited from a surge in support in 2014, but that they will possibly not retain all of these. She said the surge this year had gone to the Green Party.

“I am not sure where we are going to land but I know that we will have a lot of counting and some long nights ahead of us,” she said.

But Ms McDonald added: “Sinn Féin aren’t cry babies, we dust ourselves down and we get back at it because that’s what political activism is all about."

McDonald continued: “Some days the day is yours and the tide is in and some days are more challenging and the challenge for any political organisation is to be able to manage and to navigate your way through either scenario, you have to have all-weather politics.”

Tallies are predicting that Sinn Féin - who tripled their numbers in the last local elections - will lose a number of these seats.

In Dublin the party's vote is roughly half of what they received in 2014, while the party could lose as many as half their seats on Cork City Council. Much depends on the direction of transfers among the left-wing candidates, who have all suffered as a result of the ‘Green’s day’, as McDonald put it.

An exit poll for RTE published showed Sinn Féin will likely poll around 12%, some 3% down on five years ago. The largest decline has been in urban areas, where a low turnout by working class voters has coincided with a swing to the Greens.