Taoiseach-elect Enda Kenny said he would not be pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes. “The incoming government is not going to leave our people in the dark. Paddy likes to know what the story is.”
He then set the scene for the 1916 Easter Rising centenary: “Ireland is open for business. We want to restore our reputation and our pride and make people understand this little country will be seen to be the best in the world by 2016.”
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said the result was historic. “It’s an historic day for the Labour Party. This is the first election in the history of the state that the Labour Party is going to emerge as the second largest.”
Outgoing Taoiseach Brian Cowen put his hands up. “From my point of view as Taoiseach and as minister in the past I take full responsibility. I‘ve never quibbled or suggested otherwise.”
New Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the glass was half full. “I tend to be an optimist by nature so I look at this as an opportunity as well.”
Former Fianna Fáil enterprise minister Batt O‘Keeffe drew parallels with a disaster of even greater proportions. “It‘s like Fianna Fáil has been hit by a tsunami.”
John Gormley’s Green Party suffered an electoral wipe-out but he maintained his faith. “We are a party with a set of values, a set of beliefs. We have a vision for the future.”
Finance spokesman Michael Noonan s aid Fine Gael is looking for an easily pleased and stable partner. “That implies we would not be looking after high maintenance independents who we would have to satisfy every time we had a vote in the Dáil.”
Retired Fianna Fáil minister Noel Dempsey reflected ruefully on a bad day for his party. “It is looking pretty grim. To get a result in the low 20s would be good.”
For retiring former Cork Fianna Fáil TD Ned O’Keeffe it was time to reflect on the past and the party’s gentrification during its years of power. “We became a party of race horse owners and golfers.”
Mick Wallace, developer and well-known soccer figure in Wexford, is one of the few men of property to retain respect following the election. “I don‘t see any great connect between those who occupy the Dáil and the people of the country and I suppose I felt an obligation to try and do something about that,” he said. “Maybe I can‘t change it. Maybe it would be easier to take the Mafia out of influence in southern Italy.”
Fellow former Independent Jackie Healy Rae represented Kerry South in the last election and defended his traditions. “I don’t care what they call us, we‘ll eat our dinner in the middle of the day all the time.”
Another Independent Shane Ross topped the poll in Dublin South and said the election was a watershed. “I think we are going to have to look at the possibility of unleashing a new politics ... This is a seminal election."
Green Party Senator Dan Boyle, who failed to take a seat in Cork, has vowed to keep tweeting. "Taking time out. Obviously very disappointed. Making no decisions yet other than I will keep this account open," he tweeted today
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