09 June 2024

Mary Lou McDonald vows to remain Sinn Fein leader as the party ‘reflects’

09 June 2024

Mary Lou McDonald said she will not stand down as leader of Sinn Fein, and has vowed to lead the party through its “reflection” following a bruising electoral performance.

While the party has not made the significant gains in the local and European elections as previously projected, it has picked up some seats across the country from the 2019 local elections.

Ms McDonald said the party has lessons to learn and will now reflect on where it went wrong in the election campaigns.

Asked whether she will consider her position as Sinn Fein leader, Ms McDonald said: “Um, you know, I will lead this reflection and this process. When the going gets tough, that’s the point at which leaders step forward. They don’t step down.

“I am incredibly proud of the team that we have. I lead a party with immense talent and immense potential. We don’t always get it right.

“We clearly have lessons to learn. We’ve listened carefully. We will regroup. We will come out, we will do better and I, as the leader of Sinn Fein, will lead that effort.”

Later asked to clarify that she is committed to staying on as leader, she said: “Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.”

The Dublin TD admitted that it has not been Sinn Fein’s day, and that the party has not benefited from voters who are frustrated at the government.

She also said she would reflect on the number of candidates the party ran across the elections.

Ms McDonald added: “You see to every voter who on this occasion chose to vote for independents or other parties rather than us, the hard work now starts by going and winning those votes back. That’s it. Simple as that, complicated as that.

“On the key issues, there is no doubt that there is anger, there is frustration. It hasn’t been our day.

“We were not the beneficiaries of any stance against the government in any substantial way. We have made some gains. So we need to crack that conundrum. And we will.”

She also said she would “absolutely welcome” an immediate general election.

“We need a change of government and by the way, I am fully acknowledging that this has not been our day.

The only real test for all of this is when a general election itself is called

“We still have a huge, huge capacity and scope here to go out and perform and win in a general election.

“Key to that now increasingly as we move towards that date, is setting out very clearly, the plans and the ambitions that we have to meet and answer the issues that clearly bear down on people.”

Ms McDonald also said she stands by her belief that the Irish public want a change in Government, despite the coalition parties polling well in the elections.

“I strongly believe that there is a large section of our society that knows, that understands and that wishes to see a change of government to bring real solutions, to sort out the problems that face families and communities,” she added.

“The only real test for all of this is when a general election itself is called.”

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