Gildernew will ‘bounce back’ from failure to win MEP seat – McDonald

Gildernew Will ‘Bounce Back’ From Failure To Win Mep Seat – Mcdonald
Sinn Fein’s leader, Mary Lou McDonald, paid tribute to Michelle Gildernew’s efforts in the European election. Photo: PA
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Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Michelle Gildernew will “bounce back” from her failure to win a seat in the European Parliament, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.

Party vice president Michelle O’Neill said there “absolutely has to be a role” for Ms Gildernew moving forward, describing her colleague as a “stalwart”.


Sinn Féin’s former Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP contested the European election in the Midlands-North-West constituency.

However, she lost out, coming sixth in the five-seater constituency following a marathon count.

General Election campaign 2024
Sinn Féin’s president, Mary Lou McDonald, left, and vice president Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)


Speaking in Belfast, Ms McDonald said: “I want to acknowledge Michelle Gildernew for taking on the European challenge.

“You haven’t heard the last of her, far from it.

“Michelle Gildernew fought an incredible campaign. She was battling right to the very end; she just missed out.

“Michelle, as you know, is a formidable woman with an incredible record of public representation and public service.


“Be in no doubt that Michelle will feature very strongly within the Sinn Féin team into the future.

“I know, because I’ve been talking to her directly, she will bounce back.”

The party leader said she was disappointed that Ms Gildernew did not get elected.

She added: “I am also conscious that she and her family, in the course of this campaign, endured an unspeakable tragedy in their family.”


Earlier this month, Ms Gildernew’s nephew, Fiachra O Faolain, who was in his 20s, died after getting into difficulty in a lake in Co Tyrone.

After Ms Gildernew announced that she would be running in the European election rather than trying to defend her Westminster seat, Sinn Féin instead selected former Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief Pat Cullen as its candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Ms O’Neill described Ms Gildernew as a “fantastic asset” for Sinn Féin.

She added: “I know where Michelle Gildernew will be for the next three weeks, right up until July 4, she will be walking hand in hand with Pat Cullen in Fermanagh and South Tyrone to get Pat elected.


“But there absolutely has to be a role for Michelle going forward. She has been a stalwart in that constituency for so long and she will be back in whatever form that will take.

“Michelle standing in the Midlands-North-West constituency was both a statement of intent and a statement of ambition.

“In life you can choose to stand still or you can try to edge forward.

“On this occasion it hasn’t worked out, but that doesn’t mean we won’t come back at it again and again and again.”

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