Pádraig MacLochlainn: "This is a massive mandate but a huge responsibility, a huge responsibility.”
Newly-elected Donegal TD Pádraig MacLochlainn said he is overwhelmed at being elected four years after he lost his seat in Donegal.
The Sinn Féin candidate was elected on the first count with 13,891 first preference votes in a dramatic surge in the party’s support. He surpassed the quota on the first count along with running mate Pearse Doherty who took 21,044 votes.
“The scale of the vote across Donegal is phenomenal, 45%. In terms of just the north Donegal area, we went from 9,000 votes to 17,500,” he said.
“This is a massive mandate but a huge responsibility, a huge responsibility.”
After losing his seat in 2016 by 184 votes, he said the party knew it had to go back to the drawing board in Donegal.
“You see the potential that we were hoping to take the second seat but we never imagined that we would both be elected on the first count in a five-seater with a massive number of votes.”
Following the huge vote the party received nationally, the idea that Sinn Féin should not be in government must be rejected, he said.
"Anybody who says now that we shouldn't be in government, they are an absolute disgrace”, he said.
“How can you stand over ignoring the will of about one in four of the Irish people? Of overwhelming numbers of young people? For us now, we are determined with this mandate we have to seek to go into government, to seek to form a progressive government.
"But anybody going into government with us now will have to look at our mandate, look at our manifesto. And unless that is implemented we will not be going into government.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.