A disappointed Mary Lou McDonald has conceded that Sinn Féin will suffer significant losses in the local elections.
Arriving at the count centre in Dublin's RDS she said Sinn Féin benefited from a surge in support in 2014, however, they will not retain many of these local authority seats.
"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.
Tallies are predicting that Sinn Féin - who tripled their numbers in the last local elections - will lose many of these seats.
The party could lose as many as half their seats on Cork City Council and in Dublin their party vote is roughly half of what they received in 2014.
Ms McDonald said: "I am disappointed for our people who ran and who served for the last five years and who I know wanted to continue to serve their communities."
She said the huge surge in favour of the Greens worked against all parties, including Sinn Féin but also warned of a disengagement in some areas.
"There is an issue that we need to address politically in terms of disengagement from politics generally, particularly in identifiable parts of Dublin and beyond, so I think it's a mixture of things," said Ms McDonald.