Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada MEP has said that her election to the European Parliament is a victory for the ordinary people of Ireland.
Speaking from the count centre at Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Cork City, she said;
“Sinn Féin went to people of Ireland South with the very clear message that there is a better, fairer alternative to the politics of austerity and cuts.
“My election is a victory for ordinary people who have suffered so much under the regressive policies pushed by the European Commission and implemented with such relish by successive governments here at home.
“We told everybody who we met that a Sinn Féin MEP for this region would stand up for Irish interests in the European Union. I don't believe that has happened over the last five years.
“The people clearly heard that message and they have endorsed the view that Ireland can get a better deal from the EU across a range of areas.
“They have decided that sending a Sinn Fêin MEP to the European Parliament is vital to ensuring that the tide is turned against austerity and the marginalisation of Ireland.
“Sinn Féin MEPs will continue to engage critically with the European Union. We will fight for a change of direction and to put a socially progressive agenda at the centre of the decision making process.
“We believe that the EU can play a positive role in bringing about fair and sustainable economic recovery in Ireland, ending the housing crisis and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
“Our Government and MEPs have failed to lift the toxic banking debt off the shoulders of the Irish people. This is an injustice and it must be addressed and addressed genuinely - not just kicking the debt down the road to be endured by future generations. It is not our debt and it is not the debt of our children and grandchildren.
“The EU should not be about protecting the privilege of banks, the wealthy and big corporations. It should be about ensuring that citizens have a decent quality of life, education and healthcare at home, not forced to scatter to the four corners of the world in search of a better future.
“Sinn Féin is not part of the cosy consensus in this state and we will not be part of the cosy consensus in Brussels."
"Our is job is to represent the ordinary people of our communities. That principle does not change whether we are in local councils or in the Oireachtas or in the European Parliament.
“We will not falter and we will not fail.
“Sinn Féin will deliver the political change so badly needed across this island.
“I want to thank every single person who gave me their vote and supported Sinn Féin. I will not let you down.”