Eoin Ó Broin: Election shows voters have 'two clear options' at polling booth


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18.00 10 Feb 2020


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Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin says the electorate has shown that they now believe there are “two clear options” at the polling booth.

A mandate to establish a Sinn Féin negotiating team for a new government is being organised as a matter of urgency.

Mr Ó Broin said the electorate want change now and the pressure is on the party to deliver.

Speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk's The Hard Shoulder,  he said his party will be trying to find an agreement that can deliver the level of change it promised, “rather than doing what historically smaller parties have done – which is abandon a lot of those pre-election commitments just to be in office.”

He said: “When myself and Mary Lou gave a press conference in Moore Street this afternoon, we were interrupted by a young woman who came up to us as the press conference was in flow.

“She is homeless; she slept on the streets last night. What she was saying to Mary Lou was, ‘we need houses.’

“So let me be very clear with you, I want us to be in government to be able to deliver more houses so that young women like that don’t have to live on the streets. It is as simple as that.”

Mr Ó Broin also outlined the steps needed for the party to enter a coalition arrangement.

He said: "The procedures would be that we would need an Ard Comhairle meeting just to set up a negotiating time and give them a mandate to go off and negotiate and then there would have to be a special Ard Fheis to approve any programme for government."

Mr Ó Broin, who topped the poll in Dublin Mid-West after receiving 26% of first-preference votes, described himself as a "left Republican" rather than a socialist or a populist.

He said: “You have Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael broadly offering more of the same and you have us offering a very distinct alternative.

“You might call it populist, I might have another name for it – but the electorate understood that there were now two very, very clear options.

“No matter what you call it, huge numbers of working people were saying that what has been happening over the last four or five years in terms of the cost of childcare, the lack of affordable housing, the chaos in health etc, it doesn’t work for them anymore.

“I think what we got right is we offered those people a very clear, a very coherent and what we would say is a very credible alternative and I think that is why we are in the position we are in today.

He also rejected the idea that Sinn Féin should have run up to 20 more candidates given the huge swing in support they have experienced.

He said that, in hindsight, the party could have run five or six more.

Main image: File photo of Eoin Ó Broin. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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