Sinn Fein's Setback in Ireland's Local Elections

Sinn Fein's Setback in Ireland's Local Elections

Fiona O'Malley
2 min read

Sinn Fein Faces Setback in Local Elections in Ireland

In Ireland's recent local elections, Sinn Fein, the main opposition party, fell short of expectations, securing only 91 seats out of 949. This setback contrasts with the success of the main coalition government partners, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, who secured 215 and 205 seats, respectively. Independent candidates, many anti-immigration, also performed well with 164 seats.

Sinn Fein's health spokesperson, David Cullinane, acknowledged the disappointing results on national broadcaster RTE, while party leader Mary Lou McDonald expressed plans to regroup and reflect on the outcomes. The decline in Sinn Fein's support, shifting from housing concerns to immigration, has raised concerns about their national prospects, as their support dropped from 36% in July 2022 to 23% in May 2024.

Analysts highlight that Sinn Fein should not be dismissed despite this setback, as general elections focus more on choosing a government. The rise of anti-immigration independents signals a changing political landscape in Ireland, impacting the dynamics and policy directions of the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Sinn Fein secures only 91 out of 949 local election seats, falling short of expectations.
  • Fine Gael and Fianna Fail dominate the local elections, securing 215 and 205 seats, respectively.
  • Independent candidates, often anti-immigration, perform well with 164 seats.
  • Sinn Fein's support drops from 36% in July 2022 to 23% in May 2024, as immigration concerns rise.
  • Calls for an early general election emerge after government parties' better-than-expected performance.


Sinn Fein's underperformance in the local elections, driven by a shift in public focus from housing to immigration, has put a dent in their national prospects. The strong showing of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail strengthens their government coalition, while the rise of anti-immigration independents indicates a significant shift in the political landscape. This could impact the dynamics and policy directions of the country, influencing the upcoming general elections and national policies.

Did You Know?

  • Sinn Fein: A left-wing Irish republican political party advocating for Irish reunification and social justice. Historically linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), it has transitioned to mainstream politics, focusing on issues like housing, healthcare, and economic inequality.
  • Fine Gael and Fianna Fail: Two of Ireland's largest center-right political parties. Fine Gael is traditionally aligned with more liberal economic policies and is seen as more pro-European, while Fianna Fail tends to be more nationalist and populist. Both parties have dominated Irish politics since independence, often alternating in power.
  • Local vs. General Elections in Ireland: Local elections in Ireland primarily focus on electing members to local authorities, dealing with local issues such as housing, roads, and community services. General elections determine the composition of the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament), influencing national policies and the selection of the prime minister. The outcomes can differ significantly as local elections often reflect more localized concerns and may not predict national political trends accurately.

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