Parties' final pleas for votes
Published 24/02/2011 | 12:56
Political parties have made last ditch appeals for support as the scramble to win over voters intensified ahead of tomorrow's election.
As more than 1000 voters on islands off Galway were casting their ballots, candidates across the country hit the campaign trail for the last full day of canvassing.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore urged people to use their vote to elect a fair and balanced government.
"For the past few years, many people have watched in anger and frustration at the damage that has been done to our country, feeling powerless to do anything about it," he said, campaigning in his Dun Laoghaire constituency.
"Tomorrow, power is returned to the Irish people. Sometimes, it may not feel as though, as individuals, our voices count but tomorrow your vote is the only thing that counts."
In an attempt to sway apathetic voters Mr Gilmore said everybody's vote counted and combined with thousands of others would shape the future direction of the country.
And he again warned against a Fine Gael single party government, claiming it would lead to a "monopoly of power".
"As we face the difficult tasks ahead, we need a government that reflects the broad range of opinion in our country," Mr Gilmore said.
"I do not believe it is wise to grant a monopoly of power to any one party. Instead, we need a fair and balanced government that brings people together."
Campaigning in Drogheda, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams claimed the party would put "real political backbone" into the Dail.
"At this crucial point in our country's history it is time for citizens to make a stand for a better way," Mr Adams said.
"The most effective way to do that is to come out tomorrow and to vote for Sinn Féin."
Green Party leader John Gormley urged voters to keep a green representation in the Dail.
He claimed the party was fighting for the last seat in five Dublin constituencies and in Louth, Carlow-Kilkenny, Galway West and Cork South Central.
"Depending on what the voters decide tomorrow, we are ready to work with other parties in government to fix the Irish economy and restore jobs," Mr Gormley said.
"If voters decide that we are in opposition we will constructively oppose the government - but also back them when they are doing the right thing for Irish people."
Meanwhile voters on the Aran Islands were going to the polls today, with 1155 registered voters on Inishmore, Inishmaan, Inisheer and Inishboffin.
The ballots will help elect five candidates to the Galway-West constituency, currently represented by Fianna Fail's Eamon O'Cuiv and Frank Fahey, Labour's Michael D Higgins, Fine Gael's Padraic McCormack and Independent Noel Grealish.
Inishmore has 629 registered voters, Inishmaan 158 voters, Inisheer 202 voters and Inishboffin 166 voters.
The islands usually vote in advance of election day to ensure the ballot boxes can be safely transported to count centres.
Voters on islands off Donegal and Mayo cast their ballot yesterday.