“Sinn Fein is here and Sinn Fein is here to stay. The people have spoken,” Gerry Adams said at the Redeemer count centre in Dundalk on Saturday.
It was a triumphant day for the party.
In Louth, where the party organisation is one of the most professional in the country, the success was even beyond the activists own expectation.
They took a few risks, but the gamble paid off, in what was probably the best vote management seen in a Louth election for quite some time.
The party ran 11 candidates and took ten seats.
They took three in Drogheda, two in Mid-Louth, three in Dundalk-South, and two in Dundalk-Carlingford.
Tomas Sharkey took on new territory in Blackrock and Knockbridge and really brought home the bacon.
Kevin Meenan and Jennifer Green worked closely as a team in Dundalk-South and Edel Corrigan, Jim Loughran and JJ Quigley - who lost out after a recount - really managed the campaign well in Dundalk-Carlingford. With the party leader the local Dail Deputy, the pressure was on local candidates to deliver.
And it was done in style.
A delighted Mr Adams said: “We are a party that has offered an alternative to voters. On a day like this we can see people have responded very responsibly.”
The question many are now asking is how will the new Sinn Fein power block deliver.
The party has opposed previous council budgets. While it was in a minority this was little more than a protest vote.
If as a majority, if it opposes the budget then the council itself will fall.
Sinn Fein are unlikely to let that happen.
“We have had an exceptional day right across both states want to thank all of our candidates II assure the electorate we will work for them and not alone republicans,” Gerry Adams said.
“This election will see how politics is done on this island.”
Indeed. Many opposition party members are waiting to see just how this result will change local government in Louth.
Sinn Fein are now well and truly at the centre of mainstream politics in the county and the country following this weekend’s local and European election results.
fifty-five per cent of the vote went to Sinn Fein candidates.
Fine Gael did not seem to manage their vote as well in Dundalk-carlingford or Dundalk-South, but took three seats in Drogheda.
Labour held their own in Louth when Drogheda’s Michael Bell kept his seat.
Interesting times ahead.
But a great day for Sinn Fein in county Louth.