Coghlan is 'long shot' to win seat, admits FG
FINE Gael is privately playing down the chances of victory for Dublin West by-election candidate Eamonn Coghlan after he admitted he "has an awful lot to learn" on government policy.
Senior party sources believe Mr Coghlan's chances of securing the seat now represent a "long shot" as the contest shapes up into a two-horse race between Fianna Fail's David McGuinness and the Socialist Party's Ruth Coppinger.
In a bid to salvage Mr Coghlan's electoral hopes, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is urging thousands of voters in Dublin West not to support candidates who "just want to make noise and score points".
Mr Varadkar, who is a Dublin West TD himself, will tell voters that Mr Coghlan is a "good colleague who wants to make a difference in the Dail".
In his letter to constituents released today, Mr Varadkar expresses concern about the rise of left-wing politicians in Dublin West, particularly at council level.
"I am concerned that a council dominated by left-wing and independent councillors could raise your taxes and squander your money poorly as they have done in other places. We want our neighbourhoods looked after," Mr Varadkar added.
Mr Coghlan has campaigned tirelessly over the past fortnight and has refused to take his celebrity status as a former Olympian for granted.
However, he has admitted privately that he was disappointed with his performance on TV3's 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' last week, during which he leaped out of his chair and imitated a constituent.
Mr Coghlan's performance attracted a negative reaction on social networks.