A Sinn Féin activist has said the national profile of the party’s two Donegal TDs may have impacted on the party’s election performance in the constituency.
Michael McMahon, a former Bundoran town councillor, said the party’s performance in the general election in Donegal must now be analysed to establish what went wrong.
While Pearse Doherty looks set to be elected, there are serious doubts over the chances of sitting TD Padraig Maclochlainn retaining his seat. The party ran county councillor Gary Doherty as a third candidate.
The loss of the party’s frontbencher would be a huge blow and a spectacular failure of the three-candidate strategy in the constituency.
Speaking after the first tally was completed, Mr McMahon said: “It is still all to play for. It appears the votes Fine Gael got last time from Fianna Fáil have left Fine Gael and gone back to Fianna Fáil. Maybe our strategy, running the three-candidates, was risky from day one and I know that we knew that. But we were trying to consolidate a position. It does not appear to have worked. The people have spoken and the electorate have told us what the position is.”
He said the party’s vote may have fallen in Donegal on the last general election and there has to be an analysis of why that happened.
“Our vote appears to be down. Pearse has been the finance spokesman and has a lot of work to do in Dublin and maybe that is a problem. They both (the TDs) have high-profile positions in Dublin and I think that has affected their presence on the ground. We'll have to look at all that and analyse it and see exactly where it went wrong for us. But we are not down and out. We are battling. We are not flat. I think we can get the two. I think we can get the last seat.”