- 10 Feb 20
The left-wing party had a historic victory, partially urged by a passionate youth vote.
Sinn Féin candidates swept a series of remarkable victories in general election counts this weekend, largely led by a passionate youth vote.
According to the Irish Times exit poll, Sinn Féin dominated among the 18-24 group with 31.8 percent first preferences. The trend continued among the 25-34 age group, sweeping a similar 31.7 percent of first preferences. Overall, the party is the first party in almost a century other than Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael to win the popular vote in an Irish General Election.
Young activists also banded together for a climate strike on Friday. Though too young to vote, they pushed others who were of age to take a stance on vote with the climate in mind.
In the days leading up to the election, Irish musicians including TPM, Panik Attaks, Lethal Dialect and Post Punk Podge released politically-charged tracks speaking out against the current social issues within Irish government.
Post Punk Podge said in a tweet that the election results made for the best day in Ireland since the last two referenda.
Cork-based comedian Tadhg Hickey called it the "greatest day of his life so far."
— Tadhg (@TadhgHickey) February 9, 2020
Irish author Caelainn Hogan also expressed her excitement for the results.
Historic success for a leftist party in Ireland won through commitments to public housing and health. These were the issues voters cared about most. People voted Sinn Féin because despite the supposed recovery many are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. #GE2020
— Caelainn Hogan (@CaelainnH) February 9, 2020
This year's election lead-up marked a new age for Sinn Féin. Their campaign pushed RTÉ to give party president Mary Lou McDonald a spot on the final leaders' debate. The campaign focused on social issues such as providing more social housing and better healthcare, and attacked Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for being in power too long.
McDonald wants the two-party system to be a thing of the past. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said that her party has "won the election and won the popular vote" and is now examining the possibility of forming a new government, making contact with other parties and independents.
In Hot Press' Musicians on the General Election series, a number of artists expressed similar sentiment toward Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's reign. Maija Sofia said: "I’ll be voting against Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – they’re two sides of the same right wing coin and they don’t care about us."
Kíla's Rossa Ó Snodaigh said: "I’d hate Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to get in. I’d love if the country actually voted for the people that will follow the policies they always argue about. It’s very simple – intelligent investment. The left has never been given a chance in Ireland."
TPM urged, "Use your vote to fuck Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil out of the place."
Sinn Féin also promoted a plan to dramatically increase public spending on the arts, including a commitment to increasing annual funding for the Arts Council by €20 million. Read Hot Press' coverage of the pre-election arts debate here.