FF and FG left rattled as poll puts Labour clearly in front
THE Labour Party is set to steal seats from Fine Gael in the next general election. Eamon Gilmore's claim that he could become Taoiseach gained momentum last night when his party topped another opinion poll.
Not only is Labour primed to benefit from Fianna Fail losses, it will also take seats from Fine Gael if the current trend is matched on the real polling day.
In the battle between the opposition parties, Labour is gradually pushing ahead -- much to the consternation of Fine Gael.
The opinion poll, carried out for TV3 by Millward Brown Lansdowne, saw Labour jump a staggering 16 points in just seven months to 35pc.
"With 35pc of the first-preference votes, the Labour Party has emerged as the strongest party in what is an extremely competitive election scenario.
"It can now credibly assert its potential to lead the next Government," the polling company concluded.
Mr Gilmore has said he will run enough candidates at the next general election to take advantage of the massive surge in support for his party.
Labour said last night that the poll backed up the reaction it is getting on the ground.
A party source said: "People are making a decision between Fine Gael and Labour. The key to that is having electable candidates, not just flag-carriers."
However, the source also admitted: "Where we are weak, it's about getting a candidate who shares Labour's values."
If Labour achieved 35pc of the votes, Mr Gilmore's party could expect to return 58 TDs -- and that is before taking into account the seat bonus that comes from transfers.