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Irish election 2020 result a 'slap in the face' for Leo Varadkar, says Ian Paisley

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Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar celebrates with his sister Sonia (R) after being elected on February 9, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Donall Farmer/Getty Images)

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar celebrates with his sister Sonia (R) after being elected on February 9, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Donall Farmer/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar celebrates with his sister Sonia (R) after being elected on February 9, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Donall Farmer/Getty Images)

DUP MP Ian Paisley described the result of the Irish general election as a "slap in the face" for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for his rejection of a Sinn Fein partner in government, while he urged those in Northern Ireland to share power with Mary Lou McDonald's party.

Sinn Fein had a stunning election, topping the poll winning the most first preference votes and smashing the two party system.

The party secured 24.5% of the vote ahead of Fianna Fail on 22.2% and Fine Gael on 20.9%. Sinn Fein is heading for at least 36 seats, and possibly hitting 38.

The party only ran 42 candidates for the 159 seats in the Dail. The speaker is automatically re-elected in the 160-seat parliament. In many constituencies Sinn Fein topped the poll and some candidates were elected on votes which surpassed the quota - suggesting the party could have taken multiple seats.

Fianna Fail will be above 40 seats and Fine Gael under 40 in the final tally making Sinn Fein the focus of the coalition talks to come over the coming days. If there is not another election called.

Fine Gael had a confidence and supply arrangement in the last Dail with Fianna Fail allowing it to operate a government.

DUP MP Ian Paisley said Leo Varadkar "tried to out green Sinn Fein with his attitude throughout the Brexit negotiations and he ended up being politically overtaken".

He continued: "The FG/FF partnership has most certainly been rejected. And the responsibility for that rests exclusively with the failed and rejected leadership of Leo Varadkar.

"To the political elite in the Republic who have pontificated to the people in Northern Ireland about how they must do a partnership government with Sinn Fein whilst at the same time saying they would never do that.

"This election result is a real slap in the face to that elite."

Social issues such as housing and health dominated the minds of voters in the Republic, analysis suggests.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has said the result brought Irish unity closer. However, DUP leader Arlene Foster rejected that saying the party's success was done to a protest vote and domestic issues.

The First Minister said she believed Michael Martin and Fianna Fail would form the next government. Leo Varadkar has ruled out working with Sinn Fein.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson pointed out Sinn Fein secured a quarter of the vote which he said was "hardly a stunning endorsement of the idea their should be a border poll".

Mr Paisley continued: "61% of the economically active people in the Republic are economically dissatisfied more than a quarter employed are in low incomes.

"The economy there cannot survive without England’s safety valve to take Ireland’s young.

"The fact is Leo has been so aggressive against the UK he has effectively made the economy of Ireland what it was in the immediate aftermath of independence.

"He lives in a false free state that is dependent on the UK."

Belfast Telegraph


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Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald during the election count at the RDS in Dublin