SINN Féin’s David Cullinane has made history with his huge General Election victory in Waterford.
His 20,569 first-preference vote was more than twice the quota and higher than the combined result recorded by the candidates for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler was re-elected but the Cullinane tide has left the constituency without a Fine Gael TD for the first time since the party’s formation.
The Sinn Féin surplus helped elect cardiac-care campaigner Matt Shanahan and Marc Ó Cathasaigh of the Green Party.
Mr Cullinane said his party now wanted to be in government but “we’re not going to prop up Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael as junior partners”.
a partnership of equals
“It will be a partnership of equals if anything,” he insisted. He said there would be no red lines, only negotiations, and those would be easier with the smaller parties. “We don’t know who we’re negotiating with yet,” he said.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald reiterated that her preference is for a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. However, she said she will speak to every party and independents about government formation.
Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin has been in touch with the Green Party, the Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit, and will also talk to independents and Labour, “everybody outside the old two”, to establish “whether or not there are the numbers to deliver a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael”.
“Of course I’ll talk to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar and I think the democratic thing is for them to speak to me too,” she said.
“I’ll speak to everyone because that’s what grown-up people do.”