In the wake of the defection of the Kildare Labour councillor Thomas Redmond to Sinn Fein, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys has told his party colleagues, "if Labour stands up to Sinn Fein on the ground, we will see them off".
Labour, in contrast, over a series of Sunday Independent/ Millward Brown polls, has become, with eight per cent, detached from the front of the political herd.
Mr Humphreys, however, told the Sunday Independent that "the reality of Sinn Fein's position, particularly in Dublin, is that they do not have the quality of candidates required to win seats".
Commenting on the addition of Chris Andrews to the Sinn Fein ticket in his own constituency, which has been seen as a major coup for Sinn Fein, Mr Humphreys said "it actually shows a sense of nervousness that they were not going to win in an eight-seat council ward".
He also warned his colleagues: "Don't buy the Sinn Fein surge hype. Sinn Fein do not take seats from Labour where Labour stands up to them and shows their policies don't stand up."
Mr Humphreys said he had personal experience of this in the past, when "Sinn Fein put black flags up all over the south inner city without consulting the residents, and claimed it was Sinn Fein country".
They were, he said, "marking their territory, just like in Belfast or the Garvaghy Road''.
The Labour TD added: "When I came into canvass, threatening groups of Sinn Fein associates surrounded me, warning me this was Sinn Fein territory. They had no connection with the residents. I ignored them, continued canvassing and they backed off".