Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty thinks Fine Gael were “lucky” to get one seat in Donegal during the general election last week.
In an interview on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Doherty admitted Sinn Féin had mismanaged the party vote in Donegal, but he believes had Dinny McGinley, the outgoing Fine Gael TD run, he would have lost his seat:
“It’s clear that Fine Gael’s vote went to Fianna Fáil. Dinny McGinley hasn’t lost his seat since he first took it, so maybe it was a good thing that he wasn’t standing, because there’s no doubt (that he would have lost it) ... they (FG) didn’t have a second seat. They were lucky to get one.”
Reflecting on his own party’s strategy to run three candidates he told Aodh Máirtín Ó Fearraigh that they should have sought a full recount when Gary Doherty was eliminated.
But, he defended the three candidate strategy arguing there would have been a bigger gap between Pringle and Mac Lochlainn had the party not followed the three candidate strategy.
“Had we not run three candidates in the county, the gap between Thomas Pringle and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn would have been even greater. Although that strategy gave Pádraig the best chance, we have to ask ourselves questions about what we should do for the next election, can we divide up the county better, to manage the vote better.”
He said internal party opinion polls had shown them that Pádraig Mac Lochlainn’s vote was low, and that he himself would be getting a lot of votes in Inis Eoghan and Letterkenny.
“We had known for a while... the opinion polls we had done ourselves told us that Pádraig Mac Lochlainn’s vote was low, but we didn’t realise that Fianna Fáil’s vote would be so high. So, two things happened there, Fianna Fáil’s vote grew and took votes from Pádraig. At the end of the day, with the amount of votes we got, we should have taken two seats.”
He said that Sinn Féin would be examining their performance in the election next week.
Pearse Doherty was interviewed on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
*Pictured above Pearse Doherty and former TD, Dinny McGinley.