Ruairí Ó Murchú TD says it is Sinn Féin’s best case scenario that neither Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil are part of the next government but said they were open to talks with any party as talks and manoeuvres are now being made across the political spectrum to form a government.
The former councillor was elected in the second seat in the Louth constituency on Sunday evening, an outcome which was evident from very early in the morning as he and running mate Imelda Munster dominated the polling across the county. Munster received 17,203 first preference votes with Ó Murchú ending on 12,491 to easily surpass the quota.
Munster’s tally, a record high in Louth, was bettered by only seven other candidates – all Sinn Féin poll toppers – across the country.
By the time counting was concluded nationwide, Fianna Fáil had secured 38 seats, just one ahead of Sinn Féin on 37 – who ran only 42 candidates – with Fine Gael on 35.
“Sinn Féin have said that we will talk to anybody in relation to forming a government, to putting together a government that will be sufficiently Republican and will see delivery on these issues,” Ó Murchú told LouthNow.ie. “We’re having this strange conversation where some people will talk to us and some people won’t.
“Our best case scenario is a government that doesn’t include Fine Gael and Fianna Fail but we will not walk outside and stand on a pedestal and not talk to anybody. We will talk to whoever but it is all abut delivery. We have absolutely no difficulty in that. We are not running away from any of this. We are willing to go into government but we are only willing to go in if we get delivery on the issues that matter to people.”
A majority of 80 is needed to form a government and while the Green Party and Social Democrats among others have held meetings to discuss their thoughts on a possible coalition, with Labour and Solidarity-People Before Profit in the mix too, doubts have been cast about a Sinn Féin led left-wing government.
A Sinn Féin/Green Party/Fianna Fáil coalition remains a possibility while Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will hold discussions too. Leo Varadkar has previously said his party would not enter into government with Sinn Féin while Micheal Martin has been less staunch on his stance.
Ó Murchú also told LouthNow.ie that he was surprised at the scale of his parties’ win on Sunday – in Louth and across the country. When asked if he expected that transpired, he said
“You listen to people on door who said they were voting for us, they hadn’t voted for us before, they were fed up with switching between FF and FG, they had been doing it for 100 years and we’re taking a chance on us.
“While our own support base which is strong in this particular area seemed to have been fully behind us and I was thinking it was going to be good day for us, I did not think it would be anything on that scale.”
Ó Murchú added; “You always expect a slight tail off in percentage terms but that didn’t happen. The people were brilliant. It’s a huge responsibility they have given us. We will take it seriously.
“The people have given us a huge endorsement but like we asked them to do they are taking a chance on us. They are looking for delivery on issues that matter – healthcare, housing, crime, all of it. We need to step up to the mark. I personally will do my utmost to ensure that we see delivery on politics for people.”