Labour reaction: SF must ‘step over the threshold and take the reins of power’

It has been ‘a bad day for Labour’, Brendan Howlin concedes

Brendan Howlin Labour Party leader said Sinn Féin is the real winner of the election and they must engage with the other parties to form a Government. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins Agency

Brendan Howlin Labour Party leader said Sinn Féin is the real winner of the election and they must engage with the other parties to form a Government. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins Agency

 

Sinn Féin must now “step over the threshold and take the reins of power”, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said.

Speaking at the count centre in Wexford, Mr Howlin conceded it has been “a bad day for Labour.”

Tallies indicate the party will take about 4.1 per cent of the national vote with senior figures such as Joan Burton and Jan O’Sullivan struggling to retain their seats.

Mr Howlin’s seat in Wexford appears to be safe. Tallies indicate he has secured about 12 per cent of the vote and will be elected on the second or third count.

He said Sinn Féin is the real winner of the election and they must engage with the other parties to form a Government. However he indicated Labour would not feature as part of this government after a “disappointing day.”

“The numbers won’t add up for that. We have to see how many seats the Labour Party has. It’s about what a government does, not who is in it.

The Wexford TD says there is a “responsibility on Sinn Féin to step over the threshold and take the reigns of power and deliver on those promises to the electorate.”

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael must now decide if we are going to have instability for a long time or if we are going to have a government, he said. “The people have spoken very decisively.”

He said Labour’s message was “bang on” but there was a “movement for something different”.

The results of first count in Wexford are expected to be announced at about 5pm with Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen expected to be returned after comfortably surpassing the quota.