Creighton confident of first Renua win in by-election
Published 22/05/2015 | 02:30
Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton remains confident her party will take the Dáil seat in today's by-election.
Instead of canvassing on the election trail in Carlow/Kilkenny yesterday, Ms Creighton spent the day in Galway with the party's latest member, Councillor James Charity.
However, she insisted Renua candidate Patrick McKee was well on track to win the Carlow/Kilkenny Dáil seat.
"I've been down there a lot and we were trying to find a time that worked as well for James," she said.
"I am confident, I kind of think that by now people have really made up their minds.
"There's not a whole lot you can do the days before an election. I'm very confident, we've the best candidate," she said.
Ms Creighton said Mr McKee was "very much in contention", adding that if he was competitive on the first count then he'd win.
"Clearly it's being portrayed by the political pundits in Dublin, many who haven't visited Carlow/Kilkenny, and by the two bigger political parties, as a two-horse race. But I don't think it's anything of the sort," she said.
The Renua Ireland leader agreed the outcome was a crucial indicator for the party.
"I think it is. It's our first electoral contest, we basically launched into selecting a candidate immediately after we launched with no resources and no real capacity.
"But we've actually managed to run a very good campaign thanks to Billy Timmins, our director of elections, who is very experienced. I think people are going to be really surprised by how well we do.
"And we could both be walking into the Dáil on Tuesday, I think that is a very realistic prospect," she added.
Ms Creighton said the party would start the selection process for general election candidates next week and would have the first 10 candidates selected by the start of June before moving on to the next 10.
"We intend to have at least 20 of our candidates selected by the end of June and we'll be halfway there at that stage.
"We're going to run a minimum of 40 candidates," she added.
Ms Creighton said they had received a huge amount of interest from people interested in running for the party, with a large number of people from a small business background getting involved.
She also added that they had received a lot of interest from people from a Fianna Fáil background.
Mr Charity, a barrister elected as an independent councillor last year, said a key factor in his decision to join the party was to help provide a voice for marginalised and rural groups, such as SMEs and communities.
Ms Creighton welcomed Mr Charity to the Renua fold, noting that "the decision of James to take a leap of faith and join Renua is commendable; there are easier options out there than us".
The pair met a number of groups representing SMEs, traders and a Galway Chamber women's networking event yesterday.