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ELECTION LATEST: Micheal Martin: 'We had faith'

Micheal Martin and his wife Mary attend the general election 2016 count at the City Hall in Cork
Micheal Martin and his wife Mary attend the general election 2016 count at the City Hall in Cork

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who arrived at the Cork city election count centre in City Hall to rapturous applause, has spoken of his party’s impressive performance.

Tallies show his party on 41% of the vote in his own constituency of Cork South Central.

"We had faith, going way back to 2012, and we were consistent and the local elections gave us a great platform," he said.

"I think our message resonated with people. We kept our feet on the ground, we kept connected to communities.

"And that will be the strongest challenge - to stay connected to the realities on the ground. I think the government lost touch too quickly. And we, from way out, could see a two-tier economic recovery evolving.

"We could see that many people didn't get the rhetoric of the recovery in their own daily lives - and the regions didn't either.”

He added: “And I think we, in terms of our core message of quality jobs, cutting costs for families, resourcing and strengthening communities, reasserting the principle of home ownership and ending the scandal of homelessness - they were key pillars of our platform that really struck a chord with people on the ground and on the doorsteps."