Fine Gael Inishowen candidate Peter McLaughlin said he “won the battle, but lost the war.”
Fine Gael’s vote is considerably down in this election in Inishowen and it’s looking like they may lose one, if not two seats.
Controversy surrounded Mr McLaughlin’s selection for Fine Gael and he was a late entry to the party ticket.
Speaking at today’s count in Buncrana, Mr McLaughlin said he was “disappointed” at his vote and claimed Fine Gael had “pressed the self-destruct” button.
“Obviously, the vote in Inishowen was a protest one against the government,” he said.
“The Fine Gael vote collapsed in Inishowen. I got a good response on the doorstep. People have been telling me they would have given me a vote if I’d have ran as an independent.”
Despite this, he said he has “no regrets” running as a Fine Gael candidate.
He said: “Hindsight’s a great thing. But I was speaking to people within the Fine Gael party who weren’t being listened to. They were hurting too and that’s why I ran for them. I won the battle, but lost the war.”
Mr McLaughlin said while Fine Gael’s policies “aren’t all wrong,” they had got “intoxicated by power.”
He said: “Fine Gael got in on the last elections by a clean sweep. The tide was with them and now it’s going out. This is because of the policies they took. They’re not all wrong, but the party always had the ability to press the self destruct button. and they’ve done it again.
“When the country was bad and Fine Gael were in opposition, they were great. They got in and sorted problems. But when they got into power, they got intoxicated. When people get intoicated, some work, some laugh, some work, and we witnessed that with members of cabinet.
“But I’ve no regrets. I got to knock on doors and meet people. My door will still be open for anyone who needs help.”
Counting of the Inishowen votes is still underway in Buncrana. The first count is now expected to be declared at around 3pm.