"Best outcome is a government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil" - Mary Lou McDonald
"We've been in touch with the Greens, the Social Democrats, with People Before Profit and there are others."
It's all systems go at the RDS in Dublin as the results of General Election 2020 are diligently sorted through on what is turning into a very newsworthy day.
The 'Sinn Féin Surge' has dominated conversation in recent weeks, with Saturday night's exit poll indicating a three-way fight at the top and Sinn Féin in position to upset the long-running Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governmental yo-yo.
Mary Lou McDonald's party has proved especially popular with the youth vote in this election, while Cork South-Central representative Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire officially became the first TD to be elected to the 33rd Dáil on Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after that, Paul Donnelly was elected on the first count, exceeding the quota of 8,726 first preference votes by almost 4,000. In doing so, Donnelly usurped sitting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in his own constituency of Dublin West. On 8,478 votes, Varadkar did not exceed the quota.
Met with cheers and a fevered media scrum upon her arrival, Mary Lou McDonald quickly underlined her desire for a new government that doesn't involve Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
"Obviously this election was all about change," McDonald told reporters.
"Sinn Féin went to the people and we convinced them in very, very large numbers that we are the alternative, that we are the vehicle for change. We asked people to give us a chance, a chance to deliver the platform that we have set out and that platform is about solving the housing crisis. It's about getting to grips with the crisis in our health services.
"It's about giving families and workers the break, giving them breathing space, so that ordinary people begin to experience this economic recovery that they've heard so much about."
"We're not doing another five years of a housing crisis, that is not on the agenda."@MaryLouMcDonald spoke to reporters in the RDS about what the results of #GE2020 will mean for Ireland and for Sinn Féin. pic.twitter.com/p4yrbNvPTy
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) February 9, 2020
McDonald went on to state that Sinn Féin's opposition rivals are "in a state of denial", noting that neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil are listening to the people.
"I want us to have a government for the people. I want us to have ideally a government with no Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in it. I have started the contact with other parties to explore over the next days whether or not that is a possibility. But I also have to say this in any event, I do not accept the exclusion or talk of excluding our party, a party that represents now almost a quarter of the electorate. I think that is fundamentally undemocratic.
"We've been in touch with The Greens, The Social Democrats, with People before Profit and there are others," McDonald continued.
"I said throughout the campaign - and I meant it when I said it - that we need change, we need a new government. The best outcome is a government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil so that's the first thing that I want to test, whether or not that is 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."