Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has vowed that the party’s MEPs will "stand up for the people of Ireland in Europe" and that he will lead the party into the general election.
Describing himself as a “team player”, he said that the party “does not want to be in government for the sake of being in government” and that they would only go into government if they believed they could fulfill their mandate.
He said if Fine Gael and Labour now begin “to lessen the burden”, it will be in response to the “process of change” that Sinn Féin has heralded.
Arriving at the Ireland South count centre with the newly-elected MEP Liadh Ní Riada, Mr Adams said she will be an “outstanding candidate” for the sprawling constituency that runs from Kerry to Clare to Wexford.
Mr Adams said the Taoiseach’s dismissal of the Sinn Féin vote as a protest vote was a “sign of frustration” and that the swing towards Sinn Féin at local and European level was a “sea change” in Irish politics that had “changed the (political) landscape”.
“We have just had the best SF election in the history of this State. We are doing well and I am a team player.”
He said SF is now ideally placed to expand its gains in the next general election.
“We want to be in government. We are in government in the North. We need a mandate and I think Pearse Doherty put it well when he said SF is hungry for change but we are not hungry to be in government.
“We are not going to leave our principles outside the door. The only reason to be in government is to advance the project that you have set.”
Mr Adams said that where SF have the numbers to form an alliance on city councils, the party will talk with other political groups.
“You should only be in government as a means to bring about change.”
“We will meet… our councillors here (in Cork) will meet and we obviously will be in touch with all other parties on the council with very clear proposals to put to them. There is going to be some negotiation done in every council across the State and SF will be party to it.”
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