Uachtarán Shinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald alongside Cavan’s local election candidates Damien Brady, Stiofán Conaty, Angela Gaffney, Bricker Wall, Noel Connell, Marina McEntee and Cllr Paddy McDonald.

‘Change starts here’

Sinn Féin launches Local & European election campaign

Sinn Féin's local and European election candidates gathered in Cavan at the weekend for the launch of their respective upcoming campaigns under the banner 'Change Starts Here'.

Hundreds of Sinn Féin local election candidates, from all across the 26 counties, were joined by the party leadership and European Parliament candidates for the Midlands North-West constituency, Michelle Gildernew MP and Chris MacManus MEP, at the Hotel Kilmore last Sunday, February 18.

Candidates were addressed by Uachtarán Shinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald TD, who expressed her delight at being back on the campaign trail in Cavan, a county she described as having a proud and storied history of Republican politics.

Sinn Féin’s Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD and MP for Belfast, John Finucane, also addressed the gathering.

The party took a hammering in the ballot boxes locally back in 2019, as Sinn Féin's fortunes wavered across the country on key issues at local level.

Sinn Fein had two sitting councillors in the Cavan/Belturbet electoral area Damien Brady and a co-opted Daniel Downey last time out, losing both seats; while Noel Connell in Ballyjamesduff saw his share of the vote split with the emergence of Aontú candidate Grainne McPhillips.

Only Bailieborough's Paddy McDonald was returned, despite the party's vote management failing with counterpart Bridget Boyle earning more first preferences than her more experienced colleague. Sinn Féin have once again gone with a multi-candidate strategy right across the board, with Cllr McDonald joined by Marina McEntee, Stiofán Conaty in Bailieborough-Cootehill; Mr Brady and Michael Bricker Wall in Cavan-Belturbet; and Angela Gaffney and Mr Connell in Ballyjamesduff.

They're running a similar tactic in the European elections with Ms Gildernew joining Mr MacManus from Sligo on the ticket.

In a newly expanded five-seater constituency, Sinn Féin won 13% of the first preference vote here last time out with Matt Carthy elected in 2019 before swapping Brussells for Leinster House.

Speaking after Sunday's event, Bailieborough-Cootehill candidate Mr Conaty said the day was “inspiring, electric and a great way to kickstart Sinn Féin’s campaign for change”.

“Sinn Féin are offering a real alternative”, said Mr Conaty, a native Ballyhaise.

He added that people are “tired of the 100-year duopoly of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who’ve gotten this country into the many messes and crises we find ourselves in, both locally and nationally. It is time for change and change starts at the local and European elections in June.”

The launch saw Ms Gildernew, who has been the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone since 2017, and Mr MacManus formally selected to contest the European Parliament election for the Midlands North-West constituency on polling day June 7.

TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Pauline Tully, who opened the convention as Gaeilge, described the pair as two “outstanding candidates”, each with a track record of standing up for farmers, families and ordinary folk.

“Clearly, the current parties of government don’t even represent your interests at home,” she stated. “How then can we expect them to represent the interests of the people of Ireland in Europe? This country needs change and that change starts here, at the local and European elections.”

All members of the public who intend on voting are being encouraged to make sure that they are registered to vote, which can be done at