Sunday 28 December 2014

Fianna Fail struggles to mount any kind of revival in the capital

JOHN DRENNAN Political Editor

Published 23/03/2014 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin pictured with local trader Michelle Ni Shúilleabháin from Blúirini Blasta, Daingean Uí Chúis, Co Chiarraí. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin pictured with Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath (left) and President of Ógra Fianna Fáil Kate Feeney (right) addressing the media at the 75th Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in Killarney, County Kerry. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
Fianna Fáil Local Election candidates Paul McAuliffe (Ballymun), Deirdre Smith (Ratoath), James McCann (Dun Laoghaire), Cllr. Aaron O'Sullivan (East Cork), and Laura Reid (Ballymun) pictured at the 75th Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis at the INEC, Killarney. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
Dr Claire O'Driscoll, Fianna Fáil local election candidate in Ashbourne, County Meath, with her son Ferdia, aged 7 weeks pictured with Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin at the 75th Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis at the INEC, Killarney. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

FIANNA Fail is still struggling to mount a revival in Dublin, a party report has revealed.

In spite of its status as a strategic priority for the leadership, the report on the registration of branches, or cumainn, indicates the party structure is still in a state of considerable disrepair.

Fianna Fail is the only major party that does not have a TD in the capital.

In Dublin Central, the former power base of Bertie Ahern and the St Luke's-based Drumcondra Mafia, there are now just four registered branches.

Astonishingly, the figures are even worse in Dublin North-West and Dublin South-Central where there is just one branch. In Dublin Mid-West, where former TD and government chief whip John Curran is targeting a return to politics, there are just three registered branches.

The two constituencies with the highest number of branches – nine – are Dublin Bay North and Dun Laoghaire.

The figures are in stark contrast with rural constituencies such as Kerry (122) and Mayo (97), whilst the party's capital woes are also confirmed by the most recent figures on its famous church-gate collection.

These reveal that, in 2013, the 11 Dublin constituencies did not raise a single euro for the national collection.

Intriguingly, this represents a deterioration on the 2012 figures where the party raised a grand total of €20 in the capital courtesy of the hard work of the Dublin South-West constituency.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Fianna Fail Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien has warned that if the party is to recover it must compete with the Labour Party for the support of the "pay cheque in, pay cheque out on same day" generation.

Speaking at the Fianna Ard Fheis, he said: "Gilmore is going on about it a lot, there's no one going on about the role of Labour in this, in child benefit."

Mr O'Brien said Fianna Fail must become relevant to that generation that, "after they pay for the house and the car will have nothing else".

He added: "The pressure on families is intense, there is no money for leisure time or even health insurance, the pay cheque comes in and goes out on the same day."

Sunday Independent

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