Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has insisted the party will ‘dust itself down and get back at it’ after its disappointing showing in the local elections.
Deputy McDonald arrived at the count centre in the RDS this afternoon after exit polls suggested the party was looking at a national take of about 12% in the locals.
Sinn Féin’s vote is also down in the European elections – although it will keep some of its MEPs.
“I am disappointed for our people who ran and who served for the last five years and who I know wanted to continue that service to the community,” she said.
“For those who won’t make it, of course I am disappointed, I am really disappointed for them; I am disappointed for their families and for our activists.
“But I am also very sure that Sinn Féin are not cry-babies.
“We will dust ourselves down and we will get back at it because that is what political activism is all about.”
🕙POLLS CLOSED 🕙
Go raibh míle maith agaibh to everyone who has come out to vote Sinn Féin over the past 2 days, across the island of Ireland.
Huge thank you to all of our candidates, activists and supporters for your hard work.
An Phoblacht abú 🇮🇪 #LE19 #EE2019 #Time4Unity pic.twitter.com/NijMVGzLPa
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) May 24, 2019
She said she had hoped the party would keep “each and every one of those 100 extra seats we won five years ago,” but added: “It wasn't to be.”
She said the day belongs to the Green Party, adding the “huge surge to the Greens affected everybody and it affected us.”
“They have surged on this occasion and more power to them,” she said. “It would be churlish not to acknowledge that and to wish them well.”
She insisted the party is still in the hunt for four European seats on both sides of the border and said the party’s poor showing in two elections since she took over as leader has only renewed her determination.
“Leaders are charged with leadership come what may,” she said.
“It is easy to lead and to be a political activist when things go your way and the surge is on - those are great days but you also have to be ready and fit for purpose when things are more challenging.”
“We remain a very strong party; we remain the third party of politics in this jurisdiction and a huge political organisation across the island and we have done all of that without becoming part of the political establishment
“I say good for us for managing that.”
Speaking from the RDS in Dublin today, Sinn Féin leader @MaryLouMcDonald has said that "Beidh lá eile ann. The politics of Sinn Féin is about big social and political change North and South." #LE19 pic.twitter.com/qQYbjrZcq3
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) May 25, 2019
Counting of results in the local elections and the divorce referendum began at 9.00am.
The European election counts for Ireland's three constituencies will not start until Sunday morning.
A Europe-wide embargo means results cannot be declared until 10.00pm tomorrow night.