Nash says Fianna Fáil voters have turned to Labour
Published 03/02/2016 | 02:30
Super Junior Minster and Labour Party rising star Ged Nash claims Fianna Fáil supporters in Louth are pledging their support to him ahead of the General Election.
Mr Nash is facing a tough election in the constituency he shares with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, but the first-time Drogheda-based TD is "optimistic" of retaining his seat.
"A good number of Fianna Fáil activists and supporters in Drogheda, south Louth and east Meath have been telling me they will be giving me their number one vote as there is no Drogheda candidate on the ballot paper," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Nash said he was best placed to represent the people of Louth in the next government as Fianna Fáil had "effectively ruled themselves out" and were in a "sideshow battle with Sinn Féin to lead the next opposition".
Fianna Fáil is running two candidates - Louth county councillors Declan Breathnach and Emma Coffey, who are both based in the north of the constituency.
Mr Adams, who is also a first-time TD, is likely to top the poll and bring his running mate Imelda Munster with him.
Mr Nash accepts Sinn Féin will increase its support in the constituency, possibly at Labour's expense, but said the party was a "cult-like organisation" which had "achieved nothing" for the county.
Fine Gael is expected to secure at least one of the five seats with Fergus O'Dowd hoping for a fourth consecutive successful Dáil campaign.
Sitting Fine Gael TD and former Louth county football manager Peter Fitzpatrick is also on the ballot after he was eventually convinced to run again by Taoiseach Enda Kenny after initially saying he was quitting national politics.
If Mr Nash is elected, the final seat in the constituency will be a dogfight between Mr Fitzpatrick, a Fianna Fáil candidate, and possibly an Independent.
Fianna Fáil's best chance for a seat is Mr Breathnach who may be helped over the line with the surplus from his running mate.
Independent Alliance candidates Kevin Callan and Maeve Yore are expected to poll well.
Prediction: two Sinn Féin, one Fine Gael, one Labour, one Fianna Fáil