McDonald welcomes ‘softening’ of Fianna Fáil’s coalition stance
The GPO in O’Connell Street, Dublin, where the battle for independence was fought in 1916. Picture by Bill Heaney
Updated: about an hour ago
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed what she has called the “softening” of Fianna Fáil’s stance on a coalition with her party.
As counting continued in 25 constituencies, Ms McDonald claimed that Sinn Féin had “won” the election on the basis it had received the largest share of the popular vote.
With 33 TDs already elected for the party, the party is now on course to return 37 seats, its highest ever total in an Irish election. However, Fianna Fáil is still expected to be the largest party in terms of seat numbers.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Ms McDonald said she was glad that Mr Martin had “come to his senses” when making comments on Sunday that seemed to open the door to possible talks with Sinn Féin.
There was a departure from his consistent line during the campaign that Fianna Fáil would not agree to any arrangement with Sinn Féin. Ms McDonald said her preference remains a government without either of the two formerly largest parties, but added that “grown up people” sit down and talk.
Also speaking this morning, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary said his party would “certainly” be willing to talk to Sinn Féin.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has described the verdict of voters as “harsh” and a result of the public being “impatient” for more housing and a better health service.
Housing and health were the key issues of the “hugely disappointing” election, he told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.
He said Fine Gael needs to respond with “more radical thinking” in terms of delivering the public services which people clearly expect on foot of a thriving economy.