Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney credited the fervour and simplicity of Martin McGuinness’ call for equality and respect with renergising the party’s grass roots and encouraging new voters into polling stations across Derry last week.
Mr. McCartney, who came in third in Foyle with 7,145 (16 per cent) of the poll, but was the second candidate elected following the distribution of Elisha McCallion’s surplus, said the party’s phenomenal success was probably down to a range of factors.
“There were people who hadn’t voted for a long number of years, for maybe a couple of elections for a variety of reasons, but certainly this election, they knew the need to vote and they came out to vote,” said Mr. McCartney.
“So there were people, young voters, people, for want of better words, who had maybe switched off - I hate using that terminology - but there was a re-engagement and we reengaged with people and they got what this election was about.”
He said solidarity with Martin McGuinness who has had step aside from front line politics due to ill health was one reason Sinn Féin’s vote increased so spectacularly.
“I think people saw what Martin did. I think, the fervour, even with his failing health, but the simplicity of his message. It was about dignity and respect. Implementing agreements already made and bringing equality to the heart of government and then, obviously, dealing with incompetence and alleged corruption.”