Next Sinn Féin Leader Odds: Doherty and Ó Broin Lead Race To Replace McDonald

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Next Sinn Féin Leader Odds: Doherty and Ó Broin Lead Race To Replace McDonald
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Betting sites believe the eventual race to replace Mary Lou McDonald as Sinn Féin leader will come down to two men that currently sit on her front bench.

McDonald has led the party since 2018 and is the de facto leader of the opposition in the Dáil.

There is very little likelihood that she will step down from the role any time soon, especially with Sinn Féin leading in the polls heading into the 2025 Irish election.

However, bookmakers are keeping their fingers on the pulse, aware that political leaders are always just one scandal or bad policy away from the chop.

With the next Irish election odds hinting at a big win for Sinn Féin, there is very little reason for McDonald to cede the power she has built within her party.

Yet bookmakers still reckon that those closest to her will be in line to replace the Dublin Central TD should she ever walk away from the top job.

Next Sinn Féin Leader Odds

PoliticianOddsProbability
Pearse Doherty2/571.4%
Eoin Ó Broin10/323.1%
David Cullinane10/19.1%
Matt Carthy16/15.9%
Michelle O'Neill16/15.9%

Sinn Féin Leader Betting

Sinn Féin are currently polling at 29%, a full eight points ahead of Fine Gael and 11 more than Fianna Fáil. 

That poll lead has shrunk since a height of 13 points back in October, but nevertheless represents a position of strength for McDonald.

Speaking at the recent party conference in Athlone, McDonald called for the creation of a Citizens' Assembly on Irish unity in order to see “orange and green reconciled” in a new Ireland.

There is no shortage of support for Sinn Féin both north and south of the border, support that is fuelling a push for Irish unification. 

This has spiked in recent years following the UK’s testy Brexit legislation that directly affects the Irish Republic.

McDonald is polling well with the public and more voters would prefer a Sinn Féin coalition that excludes Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, than an FF-FG-Green coalition that keeps Sinn Féin in opposition.

Still, as Nicola Sturgeon, Liz Truss, Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster all found, a politician’s premiership can swiftly come crashing down.

With that in mind, here’s who the bookies think stand a chance of replacing McDonald as Sinn Féin’s next leader…

Pearse Doherty

Around 40% of all bets on this market with political betting sites have backed deputy leader Pearse Doherty to eventually succeed McDonald. 

The TD for Donegal is well positioned within the party and could have run for the leadership in 2017. 

Ex-government minister Shane Ross even reckons he’d have beaten McDonald to the position had the party membership voted.

Doherty has outlined Sinn Féin’s spending pledges for the next election, arguing that “fair” taxation and “wise” spending is the route forward. 

Housing and childcare is the priority at the next election, he argued, and there is a €2bn pledge for more capital investment.

This sort of talk rings well with party members. Doherty said at his party’s conference that Sinn Féin planned to govern alone after the next election - words that may not go down quite as well with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voters.

But if he wants to lead SF then he needs the ear of members. At 2/5, Doherty is the obvious choice to replace McDonald should the occasion arise.

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Eoin Ó Broin

Eoin Ó Broin was once described as the “new breed” of Sinn Féin politicians who, having been brought up on activism and peaceful protest, foresaw a different way into government than previous generations.

The TD for Dublin Mid-West has grown his influence within the party in recent years and is a reliable performer on and off camera. 

As the party’s housing spokesperson he has fallen on the side of renters and those struggling to pay their mortgages, arguing FF and FG have created a “housing crisis” across Ireland.

Eoin Ó Broin

Ó Broin’s brief would certainly get a boost were he to become housing minister in a Sinn Féin government. But the bookies reckon the 48-year-old has grander aspirations.

New betting sites price Ó Broin at 10/3 to be the next SF leader. Those odds carry a 23.1% probability, which is much lower than the 71.4% likelihood of Doherty getting the job.

However, Ó Broin’s star is on the ascendency and this could well help him in the long run.

Best of the Rest

Other members of the Sinn Féin front bench are seemingly in the running to replace McDonald, but their odds are hugely inflated compared to Doherty and Ó Broin. 

Ex-Northern Ireland first minister Michelle O’Neill is vice president of the party but is only likely to succeed McDonald if Irish unification is secured. She is out at 16/1 with betting apps.

So, too, is former MEP and current TD for Cavan–Monaghan Matt Carthy. 

The 46-year-old has only had a seat in the Dáil since 2020 but is never far away from the headlines as SF’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence. His influence is likely to be great over the coming years.

David Cullinane, meanwhile, is the third most likely successor of McDonald at 10/1

He and Ó Broin were the only figures to keep their jobs in McDonald’s spring reshuffle, with Cullinane remaining as health spokesperson.

Well placed should there ever be a leadership contest, Cullinane has attracted a handful of bets that have pushed his price in ahead of Carthy and O’Neill.

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