Sinn Féin representatives in Cork have committed to working with the newly appointed Government to deliver for Cork and the country, but say they have some reservations about what Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party coalition will achieve and have made clear their disappointment not to see a new Government formed led by their party leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire topped the poll in the Cork South Central constituency in the February elections.
The remaining seats in the constituency are now occupied by the newly-appointed Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Defence Simon Coveney and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire congratulated the Taoiseach and Ministers on their new roles, and said it was a “proud day” for their families, however, he said he was “disappointed and frustrated”, as he wanted to see a Government led by Mary Lou McDonald, and Sinn Féin.
“After the election, we spent dozens of hours speaking to other parties, trying to give effect to that demand for change," he said. "However, the decision of FF and FG, to refuse to so much as speak to us, froze us out, locked us out."
The Cork South Central TD said he did not believe the new Fianna Fáil - Fine Gael - Green Government will deliver for Ireland or Cork.
“Neither the track record of the last Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Government, or from the vague, or the unambiguous programme for Government leads me to believe that,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed by fellow Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould in Cork North Central. who said there were a lot of challenges ahead for the new Taoiseach and the new Government.
“On a personal note. I’d like to wish Micheál, as a Cork man and as a politician the best," he said. "It's a very proud day for his family. I sincerely wish him the best.”
While the Cork North Central TD said he wanted Mr Martin to “do well”, he had “some reservations" about whether that will happen.
Mr Gould said successive Governments had failed to deliver for the northside of the city, citing a failure to deliver on the northern ring road as well as in areas of housing, health and employment, and he said there would be pressure on the Taoiseach to deliver on these areas.
Mr Gould also expressed concerns about the future of N20, with Mr Ó Laoghaire also saying that clarity is needed on this.
“What the people of Cork want in many respects is the same as anywhere else," Mr Ó Laoghaire said. "They want decent affordable housing childcare, quality healthcare and public services, and work that pays.
While both TDs expressed a number of reservations and concerns, both stressed that they will work with the Government to deliver for people.
“This is about the people, and if the Government is willing to work with us, we will work with them,” Mr Gould said.
“Where we can work with the Government to achieve things, we will."
Mr Ó Laoghaire said he would work with anyone for the betterment of Cork, and indeed of Ireland, whether in Government or opposition.
“However I will also hold them to account for any failure to deliver for Cork,” he said. “We will be the most effective opposition in the history of the state. We will hold this Government to account on their failure to deliver, but we will also be constructive, supporting good initiatives, and bringing forward concrete deliverable alternatives.
“And we will keep on. We will keep on working for the people of Cork and of Ireland, until we deliver a unified republic worthy of the Irish people, and which can deliver a society where housing and childcare is affordable, healthcare is accessible, and all are equal."