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Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald hopes to lead Irish government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fail

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Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald during the Irish General Election count at the RDS in Dublin.  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald during the Irish General Election count at the RDS in Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald during the Irish General Election count at the RDS in Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she wants to become Taoiseach leading a government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fail following a strong election for her party in the Republic of Ireland.

Mrs McDonald told the media after arriving at the RDS count centre in Dublin that she has already spoken with the Green Party, Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit about forming a government without either Leo Varadkar or Michael Martin.

McDonald said that she believed the election marked a "revolution" in Irish politics.

"I said throughout the campaign and I meant it that we need change, that we need a new government," she added.

"The best outcome is with a government without Fianna Fail or Fine Gael so that's the first thing I want to test, whether or not that's possible.

"I also have consistently said that I will talk to and listen to everybody. I think that's what grown-ups do. I think that's what democracy demands.

Mrs McDonald said that she did not think it was sustainable for either Leo Varadkar or Michael Martin to say that they will not speak to Sinn Fein about forming a government.

"This is not a protest vote. This is certainly an election that is historic in proportions, this is changing the shape and mould of Irish politics.

"This is not a transient thing - this is just the beginning."

Ms McDonald said the support for Sinn Fein is a "big statement of change".

She added: "It's a big statement that this is no longer a two-party system, it's a statement that people want a different type of government and people have great confidence in us, and I say that with all humility.

"My first port of call is the other parties to see whether or not can we actually give a new government, a government without Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. That's item number one.

"Beyond that of course I will talk to and listen to everybody with the express intent of getting a programme for government that delivers for people."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin said he is no longer ruling out forming a government with Sinn Fein.

“I think we’ll let things calm down today. We’ll assess it when the full count is in, and the full number of seats is in. I’m a democrat. I listen to the people. I respect the decision of the people,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph