New Dáil to have a second Healy-Rae, says poll
High-profile Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae is odds-on to be joined by his brother Danny in the next Dáil, a new opinion poll has revealed.
But Sinn Féin veteran Martin Ferris, a TD since 2002, is at serious risk of losing his seat in the newly merged five-seat constituency of Kerry. These are the key findings of an Ipsos-MRBI poll for the television station TG4.
The survey was done last Thursday and Friday, immediately after Danny Healy-Rae announced he was joining his brother Michael on the ticket.
Danny is shown on just 4pc but his brother is on a sizeable 33pc - and the combined figure leaves them very close to two quotas, making chances of the pair being elected on February 26 very real indeed.
The poll is good news for Fine Gael, whose two candidates are put on the same level of support. Jimmy Deenihan, in the north, and Brendan Griffin, in the south, are each on 13pc, making one seat a certainty and giving a good chance of a second. Their third candidate, Grace O'Donnell of Tralee, is on 1pc.
The findings are bad news for Sinn Féin, Labour and, to a much lesser extent, for Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin's Mr Ferris, based in Fenit to the north of the constituency, is put on just 7pc. This poor showing suggests he is making few inroads in the new territory of the south - and also losing in his old base.
Labour's Arthur Spring, whose family have a link to Kerry politics going back to 1943, is ahead of Mr Ferris on 8pc. But that showing would leave him off the pace for a seat.
Fianna Fáil, elated at news a fortnight ago that Independent TD Tom Fleming was not standing, received a reverse last week with the late entry of Danny Healy-Rae. But it should be ahead in the scramble for the final seat.
Fianna Fáil frontrunner John Brassil is put on 11pc, and running mate Norma Moriarty is on 6pc. This suggests Cllr Brassil should take a seat.