Cork Sinn Féin TDs describe Stormont election result as ‘a moment for real change’

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire described the result as “historic”, noting Cork would have a claim to the first minister title when it comes to pass.
Cork Sinn Féin TDs describe Stormont election result as ‘a moment for real change’

Michelle O’Neill makes a victory speech in Magherafelt. Picture: PA Wire

SINN FÉIN’S historic victory in the North’s Assembly has been described as “a moment for real change” by Sinn Féin TDs in Cork.

At the weekend, the party became the first nationalist or republican party to top the poll at Stormont.

Sinn Féin finished with 27 seats, ahead of the DUP, which dropped from 28 to 25 seats. The centre-ground Alliance Party saw a surge in its vote to become the third-largest party at Stormont with 17 seats.

The new party order means Sinn Féin is entitled to nominate the next first minister. However, as the next largest party the DUP must nominate a deputy first minister for the joint office before Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill can become first minister.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire described the result as “historic”, noting Cork would have a claim to the first minister title when it comes to pass.

Ó Laoghaire said that Sinn Féin had ran a positive campaign, “setting out how we can deliver change for people to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and invest in the health service.”

Sinn Féin's leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill and party president Mary Lou McDonald take a selfie picture on a mobile phone at the count centre for the Northern Ireland Assembly election at Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt last Saturday. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Sinn Féin's leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill and party president Mary Lou McDonald take a selfie picture on a mobile phone at the count centre for the Northern Ireland Assembly election at Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt last Saturday. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

He added: “People voted for a First Minister for all, and Michelle O’Neill will provide that leadership to deliver for all communities.

“Michelle was born in Fermoy, so we have a claim to the first Cork First Minister when that comes to pass!”

Mr Ó Laoghaire said it is now important that an Executive is formed.

“We are calling on all parties to join with us and work together to tackle the crises in health and the cost of living in the best interest of everyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, also spoke about the historical significance of the party’s win.

“May 5 was the anniversary of Bobby Sands dying on hunger strike,” he said.

“Did anyone think when he died 41 years ago that Sinn Féin would be coming back as the biggest party? I think it goes to show the strength of the peace process.”

Mr Gould said the party is “very proud of the job everyone did” and that Sinn Féin’s victory is testament that the party’s “message of change and hope” resonated with people.

“We need the DUP and others to come together with us to form an Executive now and to deliver what the people need,” he said. “We believe the best way to ensure the peace process and to deliver a united Ireland is for the unionist community to see there’s nothing to fear and we can all work together and we can build something positive for our children.”

Following the election results, Taoiseach Micheál Martin congratulated the successful candidates and said it is “now incumbent on all political parties through the nomination of a First and Deputy First Minister and the formation of a new Executive to serve the interests of all of the people of Northern Ireland”.

He added: “As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government will continue to work in partnership with the British government and engage with the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland to seek and support the effective operation of all of the political institutions of the agreement.”

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