Mary Lou McDonald thinks Ireland is ready for ‘profound political change’
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald believes Ireland is ready for “profound political change” in the next election.
An opinion poll published this week revealed that Sinn Fein is currently the most popular political group in the country with 33%. Despite being in this position, it remains to be seen whether they will be elected ahead of the Fine Fail/Fine Gael coalition in the next general election.
Despite the two ruling parties standing at 48% combined in the poll, the Sinn Fein leader still believes her party can break up the coalition.
Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTE Radio One, Ms McDonald said: ‘I think it’s been really interesting since the last election the trend of what’s going on we’ve obviously had a very successful general election and we’ve managed to grow our base since. We don’t take any of this for granted.
“The extraordinary thing when you think about it is that you have the combined strengths of Fine Fail and Fine Gael still well below 50%. This would have been unthinkable not so long ago.
“The stage is set for very profound political change. I think that will crystallize during the next election campaign.
Asked by Claire how a campaign could bring about such big change in government, Ms McDonald stressed that there is an “appetite for change”.
She explained: “Campaigns change everything, campaigns are when people are confronted in real time with the prospect of either the same thing… or an alternative in Sinn Fein.
“The appetite for change is beyond us, it’s not just a Sinn Fein phenomenon, it’s beyond that.” I believe we can harvest that for the next election. Whoever will be part of the government, in all likelihood, you would need partners.
“I think decisions about all of this should be based on the substance of what you want to do, what you want to change, what you want to improve for the people of Ireland.”
Admitting it is likely Sinn Fein would need partners, Ms McDonald does not believe the two parties currently in power are their only options.
“There is politics beyond Fine Fail and Fine Gael, there are a lot of other players on the pitch who I think have a lot to offer and who are also looking to build their tenure,” a- she declared.
Claire pointed out that if a vote were to take place tomorrow, it would likely result in a “continuity vote”, which Ms McDonald said is not the best way to look at the results.
“There’s no one looking at the numbers and the way things have changed who could miss the fact that the appetite and the politics for change are very, very strong.” I think it will stay that way and accelerate until the next election,” she said.