Five months ago the people of the 26 counties voted for change. They came out in record numbers to vote for a fairer society, for progress, for new politics and a new Ireland.
The people wanted change. Sinn Fein won more votes than any other party.
People wanted us to lead a government to deliver the change they voted for.
Instead, what they got in Dublin on Saturday was a squalid carve-up which will not deliver change but more of the same.
But change cannot be stopped. It is coming. The days of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael talking down to our voters are over.
Since the foundation of the State Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have passed the baton of power between them. Now, faced with losing their grip on power, they have put a century of division behind them to block the change people voted for.
Our mandate has forced them to enter government together. They have been forced to abandon the pretence there was any difference between them.
This is the start of a realignment of politics on this island.
Just as the unionist majority in the north has gone, the demand for change has created a new politics in the south.
The pathway to a new politics is emerging and, with it, a new Ireland.
And when the new government fails to deliver on the mandate for change, Sinn Fein is ready and willing to lead. Just as we have led on delivering change in the north though our Executive ministers led by Michelle O'Neill.
Sinn Fein has been the effective Opposition since Fianna Fail and Fine Gael entered their confidence and supply partnership four years ago.
As leader of the official Opposition, Sinn Fein will be constructive, fearless and provide a strong Left-republican alternative to Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Greens.
We will deliver a new Ireland, a united Ireland, a fairer and more prosperous society, where everyone belongs.
During the course of this decade the people must have the opportunity to choose between the status quo and that new Ireland through a referendum on reunification.
Across the island people are discussing Irish unity, but Fianna Fail and Fine Gael fear to speak of it. Well, we are not afraid and will hold the government to account on its obligations in the Good Friday Agreement and the New Decade, New Approach document.
We will also press the government to work together across the island through the North-South Ministerial Council.
The Covid-19 crisis showed the value of an all-island approach. That approach is needed as we begin the recovery.
As we look to the future and the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and Brexit, ordinary people should not shoulder the burden. We have the opportunity to do better.
The interests of workers and families should always come first.
Across this island, the voice for change will continue to be heard loud and clear.
Mary Lou McDonald TD is president of Sinn Fein