Monday 27 March 2017

Flannery mooted to carry out review of FG's disastrous election campaign

Former strategist for Fine Gael Frank Flannery. Photo: Getty Mooney
Former strategist for Fine Gael Frank Flannery. Photo: Getty Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery has said he would be interested in heading up the party's review of its disastrous election campaign.

The political guru's name is being linked to the job, even though some within Fine Gael believe they should be looking for a more "neutral" viewpoint.

Mr Flannery authored a report after the party's 2002 wipeout, which is credited with setting out a blueprint for their recovery.

Fine Gael is now laying the groundwork for a similar assessment of its electoral losses, which will involve interviewing all 36 defeated candidates, a review of its messaging and a study of its approach in individual constituencies.

Mr Flannery told the Irish Independent the party needed "to take a good look at its future".

"I would have thought it would be a good time.

"There is going to be a change of leadership in the near future anyway and after such a difficult election, it would be good to see how the party is fixed for the future," he said.

"If they thought I could help, I would be interested."

Fine Gael's director of elections Brian Hayes is understood to have asked the party's hierarchy to put forward suggestions for the type of review that is necessary.

However, no approaches have been made to any individuals yet about heading up the analysis.

"There would be several names in the mix but it's not at that stage yet," said a source.

Mr Flannery resigned as a Fine Gael election strategist and party trustee in 2014 amid huge controversy over his role as a director with the then embattled disabled services charity Rehab.

He is credited with much of Fine Gael's success in the 2011 General Election as a result of the Flannery Report, which had recommended wide-ranging changes within the party.

Asked about the prospect of undertaking a similar project now, he replied that it would be "quite a big job to do it right. I'd see what kind of a view they would like it from."

Sources within Fine Gael said there could be some resistance to Mr Flannery's return.

"We need it to be somebody fresh with no baggage," said one senior source.

Meanwhile, Mr Flannery also told the Irish Independent he believed Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil had to form a government.

"They need to get on with it and give people one of the best governments Ireland has ever had," he said.

Irish Independent

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