Taoiseach told ‘pride comes before a fall’ as election count continues

Taoiseach Told ‘Pride Comes Before A Fall’ As Election Count Continues
Simon Harris smiles and points, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Taoiseach has been warned that “pride comes before a fall”, as political focus turns to the next general election.

Simon Harris has said he is “very pleased” that Fine Gael received the most first-preference votes in the local elections.


Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has said it will undertake a “review” of its worse-than-expected election performance.

During Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday, Mr Harris took aim at the opposition party’s results during the elections.

It came after Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald used her time to tell him that parents of children with additional needs face “a constant battle with the State” to get educational entitlements.

There are home-based and school-based summer programmes for children with complex special educational needs, but resourcing shortfalls mean that many families are not able to access the service.


Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had raised a question over special needs educational entitlements (Damien Storan/PA)

Mr Harris, who said his own family had benefited from the system, said the Sinn Féin leader did not need to “Mary Lou-splain” to him about summer provision.

He said he intends to prioritise special educational needs “every day” during his term as Taoiseach, adding that 300 more schools had applied to provide the service compared to last year.


Mr Harris said: “That’s what people want, not just defining of the problems but actually coming up with solutions – I would have thought you learned that this weekend.”

After the jibe over Sinn Féin’s electoral results, party TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn accused Mr Harris of “hubris and arrogance”.

The Fine Gael leader replied: “I thought you were trying humility today?”

As the Dáil’s time moved directly to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns, she said that the general public was not interested in a “Punch and Judy show, petty political one-upmanship or politics that values soundbites over substance”.


Paul Murphy
People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said results showed the coalition parties’ unpopularity (Brian Lawless/PA)

People-Before-Profit TD Paul Murphy told the coalition parties that the election results showed they were “deeply unpopular”.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are looking pretty pleased with themselves today.”


He added: “Pride becomes before a fall, Taoiseach.”

Mr Harris replied: “Be careful, so.”

Mr Murphy continued: “One crucial fact that should be mentioned is Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael combined had the lowest percentage vote in the history of the State in local elections.”

He was heckled by Fianna Gael Minister Patrick O’Donovan: “How much did you get?”

Mr Murphy went on to call for a united left-wing bloc to coalesce coming into the next general election.

Mr Harris questioned whether Mr Murphy believed Sinn Féin would be part of that grouping, adding: “Maybe they’re not sure themselves either – but they’ll work it out after they have their review.”

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