Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty and Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn have been officially named as the party’s candidates to contest the next general election for the constituency of Donegal.
The pair were officially endorsed at the party’s Selection Convention which took place last night at Letterkenny’s Mount Errigal Hotel.
The event also featured an address from guest speaker and Sinn Féin Leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill.
Speaking after this weekend’s convention, Deputy Doherty said:
“I am truly honoured and humbled to once again have the chance, along with my colleague Senator MacLochlainn, to have my name added to the party’s ticket for the forethcoming General Election.
“It was tremendous to see so many good Republicans from throughout the county come together this evening to take part in this Selection Convention.
“I have been fortunate enough to not only enjoy the support of my party over the years, but also I’ve been lucky enough to have had the support and good wishes of the people of Donegal, whom I have been honoured to serve as their T.D. since having first been elected to Dáil Éireann back in 2010.
“Clearly the next election, whenever is it called, will represent an opportunity for the people of this county to put a progressive Government into office, ending the effective monopoly on power held by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael since the foundation of the state.
“Together, both parties have let down ordinary citizens while they have and continue to priorities tax cuts for the well-off at the expense of public services.
“We only have to look at the on-going crisis in health and housing to see the impact which the policies of Fine Gael and their partners in Government Fianna Fáil have caused.
“We see in Letterkenny Hospital, some €62M has been cut from the hospital’s budget between 2010 and 2016, while the number of patients languishing on trolleys continues to climb.
“And Donegal is not immune from the homelessness crisis either, with 205 adults over the past year having been forced to access local authority emergency homeless accommodation since January– up by almost 11 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“It doesn’t have to be like this, and Sinn Féin has shown every year in our Alternative Budget document how a fairer society can be achieved through the proper investment, and by putting the needs of ordinary citizens first; something which is needed now more than ever considering the huge implications which Brexit will have for our island as a whole.
“I want to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who came along to be with us here tonight in Letterkenny for what was truly a great night for our party.
“It is now Pádraig’s and my ambition to fight to win these two seats here in the constituency and to once again have two Sinn Féin T.Ds proudly and passionately represent the people of Donegal.”
Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn also added:
I am immensely honoured and proud to be selected by our party members across Donegal, once again, to be a Sinn Féin candidate in a general election .
Our Sinn Féin team in the county has worked tirelessly to give the people of Donegal a real alternative over the years. Today we have nine county councillors from the North of the county to the South and from the East to the West representing our local communities. We have two Oireachtas members, A TD and a Senator representing Donegal.
At last years general election, over 20,000 Donegal people gave Sinn Féin their first preference vote. We are privileged to have that huge level of support and our team never takes it for granted.
We were only 184 votes away from winning two seats out of five in this Donegal constituency and we are absolutely determined to make it two out of five this time.
Not for any sense of vanity. Not for any sense of false prestige. We are determined to change this county and this country for the better. We want Sinn Féin to be in Government on this island, North and South to make that change.
We want to frame a new and fairer society and a new and fairer Donegal. We passionately believe that our policies and our vision for our health services, for rural communities, for serious investment in roads, bridges, piers and harbours, schools and hospitals, and a United Ireland that unleashes the full potential of Donegal and the North West, are what are the best for our people in Donegal.
Our health service is in crisis across Donegal from care in the home to our community hospitals right up to our major county hospital in Letterkenny. Our economy is lagging way behind Dublin and Cork and Galway.
Brexit has clearly demonstrated the folly of the division of our island and discussions about a United Ireland are now front and centre. Sinn Féin is best positioned to break down that border with our political strength in Donegal, Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh.
The new North West Cancer Centre and the commencement of works on the A5 in January are evidence of what we can achieve by breaking down that border and by working together in this region in advance of a United Ireland.
We look forward to the next election and the opportunity to present our Sinn Féin policies and our vision for real change and fairness to the people of Donegal”.