Government has been given ‘notice to quit’, says Gerry Adams

SF president says vote marks a step change in politics


Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has described the local, European and byelections as a “notice to quit” for the Government and he said there should be a general election now.

“The sooner the election is called the better,” he told reporters at the Dublin West byelection count. “My suspicion is the Government w ill hang in as long as at all possible and remember they’re taking €2 billion out at the next budget. So this is going to continue.”

Mr Adams had been asked his view of comments by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar that the general election could be a contest between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin to lead the next government.

He said: “I don’t know.” Pressed on the issue he said “Let’s get this election over first. Let’s get the votes counted first and let’s apply ourselves to doing the job of work we’ve just been appointed to do and get on with that.”

He said of the Government: “They’ve been given notice to quit. So rather than speculate about whether it would be a contest at the next election let’s have the election now. Let the people speak,” he said.

He described the vote for Sinn Féin as a “step change. It’s a huge credit to those folks who slogged away for the party, doing all the hard in communities all the thankless work, not getting involved in clientelism but genuinely trying to be part of the community fightback.”

Mr Adams said he knew the populace liked what party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and other TDs were doing in the Oireachtas. He said people liked the way the party was standing up for them “and they also liked the work that’s being done in the North and that Martin McGuinness has been involved in and others. So the vote was an endorsement of all that.”

Asked about the lower showing in the actual elections than in the polls, the Sinn Féin president said “we couldn’t match the opinion poll ratings we were given because we don’t have the organisation, the structure, the resources, the candidates. So we have to build that.”

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the party was very sure their EU election candidate Lynn Boylan would be elected. She said it was quite an achievement, “given that the constituency is now a three-seater”.

She said people wanted “a substantive change, not just a change of personnel but a change of politics”.

The Dublin Central TD said this was “not just a moment in time” or “a flash in the pan. I think something profound has happened and I think people are expecting and prepared to vote for a different kind of politics.”

She said the message for Government couldn’t be clearer. “People across the board are struggling just to keep their heads above water and they need to hear that message and that needs to influence how they come at everything from here on in, particularly in the Budget in October because if €2 billion more is levied again on the same set of people, low and middle-income families, it’s not sustainable, not bearable by those families and communities.”

“So let Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore hear that message and act accordingly.”