Beware the polls, Martin warns on Donegal trip
Published 13/02/2016 | 02:30
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told party workers yesterday to ignore opinion polls, saying they are "probably wrong".
Mr Martin was on a day-long tour of the Donegal constituency to support candidates Pat the Cope Gallagher and Charlie McConalogue, in which he said he had witnessed a two-tier economy which had left rural Ireland behind.
He said he had been "happy" with his performance on the TV3 leaders debate on Thursday and insisted voters had a choice between a Fine Gael-led government which helped the wealthy and a Fianna Fáil government which would be fairer.
He again ruled out any coalition with either Fine Gael or Sinn Féin, saying commentators who suggested these were the only options available to avoid another election were rail-roading a debate on the "real issues".
"I have pointed out how opinion polls were so wrong in the UK, out by six and a half per cent," said Mr Martin, speaking in Lifford where he met campaigners hoping to save the 200-year-old community hospital.
"There were 11 opinion polls in Britain which were wrong. All the commentators in Britain said 'neck-and neck'. There was no discussion at all about the idea of a Tory majority and no discussion about what a Tory government would do with the National Health Service or welfare.
"And that's the problem, there was no proper debate in Britain because of all the commentating about coalitions."
Standing 500 metres from Co Tyrone, he insisted asking unionists to share power with Sinn Féin was 'different' from asking him to share power with the party.
He said it was "absolutely not" hypocritical to have such a stance. "The whole issue in Northern Ireland was that there had to be community sharing of power because it (Northern Ireland) since partition was a failed political entity," said the Fianna Fáil leader.
"In this Republic, a different situation applies and the manner in which Sinn Féin has conducted itself on a number of issues in recent times has left a lot to be desired.
"Gerry Adams comments on wanting to abolish the Special Criminal Court and the Offences Against the State Act which would be something the criminals who were out and about last weekend would be very happy about."