Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said the Sinn Féin message of “real change” has hit home with the electorate.
Final tallies for Cork South Central suggest he has taken 24.77% of first preference votes, putting him well ahead of potential Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Michael McGrath (FF).
“This is a massive result for us in Cork South Central.
"I think we ran an excellent campaign on the ground and I had an excellent team behind me to deliver that but this is obviously part of a national picture."
"There is a swing toward Sinn Féin and I think it reflects a huge appetite for change and real, significant change, not just a change in personalities.
“I think the clear failure to deal with the housing crisis and a whole generation feel locked out from the potential of ever owning a home caused great frustration.
"I think when people heard Eoin Ó Broin, Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty and others, outlining Sinn Féin’s vision for them and for them to be able to ghave their own homes, to be able to have quality healthcare and affordable childcare - I think that registered with people and people gave us their support.
"I hope people will now give us the opportunity of deleivering in Government and solutions and significant change.
“We aren’t just interested in taking our seats and just being in opposition for the sake of being in opposition, we want to deliver on our promises.”