Sinn Fein targets 55 seats in the upcoming general election in a bid to lead the government

Sinn Fein aims to secure at least 55 seats in the upcoming elections, as the party ramps up its preparations to lead the next government.

Buoyed by six months of positive opinion polls, the party will look to field at least 80 candidates when the next election is called. Formerly TD at Cork North-Central Jonathan O’Brien is already playing a role in selecting candidates, although the election could take up to three years.

Party sources told Irish Examiner Planning is underway around constituencies being targeted for multiple seats, with the expectation that several high-profile names will be tasked with bringing in their colleagues. Areas such as Waterford, Dublin Bay North, and Dublin South West are described as areas where Sinn Féin will aim to build on existing seating, with Green Party Seats in Waterford and Dublin South West among those targeted. Sinn Féin sources say that of the Green Party’s 12 seats, «about eight» could be targeted, including Waterford, Wicklow, Dublin Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin West and Dublin South Central.

double the portion

In 2020, Waterford TD David Cullinane of Sinn Féin has more than 20,000 first preference votes, nearly double the share, and is likely to have two running mates in the next election, with the party believing it has an outside chance of securing three seats in four. Seating.

Sources say this will be replicated across the board, with multiple candidates nominated in all constituencies.

«While in 2020, you should have made an argument for two candidates, you should probably do the opposite next time,» a senior party source said.

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«If the call is marginal, we may have to take the risk.»

Talking to Irish Examiner Ahead of Christmas, party leader Mary Lou MacDonald said the upcoming election would be a «test» of Sinn Fein’s ability. However, other party sources said her experience of holding elections across the island would stand in the way.

Ms MacDonald said: “The test for us would be to run the right political programme, to run the right number of candidates, I literally can’t walk outside those gates. [Leinster House] Without someone stopping me and telling me for not submitting the correct number of candidates last time.

“So we need to maximize our number of candidates. Selection agreements, filling in tickets, balancing tickets is a huge task in any political party, so this process is underway.

«We’re going to run a lot of candidates and hopefully I’ll correct my mistake last time. I gave up even trying to defend why we ran so many candidates, but lessons learned.»

MacDonald declined to say how many constituencies Sinn Fein would run for three candidates, saying it would only be a «number», but said the party would have to field a large number of candidates. She said the party is preparing for the government, with sources saying Sinn Fein will remain open to talking to other parties in the same way it did in 2020.

I think the polls reflect the fact that the February 2020 elections were not an anomaly. It wasn’t just a moment of protest.

“I was very certain during and after that election that the people who voted for us, voted for us to be in government to make a difference and change things.

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“If anything, that feeling has grown.

«I’ve told our team, especially the front bench, that we need to be prepared, and when I tell people we want to be in government I mean that.»

One of the keys to Sinn Féin’s ambitions, sources say, is to make the party «more transition-friendly» in a bid to take the last seat in the constituencies.

“The downside of opinion polls is that I’ve heard some comments saying it’s a foregone conclusion that Sinn Féin is in government and insinuating that we think, I think, it’s an imposed result. I don’t. enough to take people’s trust or votes for granted. But we are in a very, very strong position to challenge authority.»

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