Sinn Féin has 'no regret' about running Liadh Ní Riada

Sinn Féin has 'no regret' about running Liadh Ní Riada

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald says the party has "no regret" about competing in the presidential race despite an expected low level of support for MEP Liadh Ní Riada.

Exit polls predict that the Cork native will only poll 7.4% and come third in the race.

This is lower than the party's late Martin McGuinness did seven years ago on over 13% and below the standard level of support for the party in opinion polls.

Furthermore, it has emerged through exit polling that Sinn Féin supporters gave their number ones to contender and businessman Peter Casey as well as the incumbent Michael D Higgins.

Speaking at the convention centre in Dublin earlier, Ms McDonald said the party had "no regrets" about running.

“I think the major parties were wrong to sit on the sidelines.”

She thanked Liadh Ní Riada and said the party had run the best candidate who had “substance and grace”.

“It had been an eccentric election,” she added, admitting the result was "disappointing".

She said turnout and the fact that voters had a foregone conclusion had contributed to the overall vote.

“I'm proud of the candidate and as my position as leader, I stand over running Liadh Ní Riada and being in the contest.”

Ms McDonald reiterated the party position that the election of a president should happen every five years as opposed to seven.

“We also recognise that some people have different personal circumstances. Some people have children, some have college."

She claimed that the question around salaries and what representatives took home in pay was a “mute point”.

She agreed that people should be upfront about what they earn, including all the other candidates in elections.

“Let's all declare,” added the party leader.

Ms McDonald denied that Ms Ní Riada's performance had been “poor” during the campaign.

She admitted that some Sinn Féin supporters had told her they would support president Michael D Higgins for a second term during the race.

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