Polls show Martin would struggle to hold onto his seat
Private opinion polls have shown that minister and 'heir apparent' to the Fianna Fail leadership, Micheal Martin, is in serious political trouble.
The privately commissioned poll in the Cork South Central constituency indicated that should there be a sudden general election, the minister will be engaged in a desperate struggle with Fine Gael to secure the last seat in the five-seat constituency.
It would represent an astonishing turnaround for a politician who topped the poll in 2007 with 11,266 first preference votes.
However, in a sign of things to come, the minister, formerly tipped to be "Cork's next Jack Lynch'', was barely 1,500 votes ahead of the first-time FF candidate Michael McGrath.
McGrath, who is perceived by many as being one of the smartest of the new breed of FF politicians, is believed to be the only FF TD who is sure of gaining a seat in the Cork South Central constituency in the next election.
FF sources claim that McGrath is pulling a huge vote in the up-market suburbs of Douglas and Ringaskiddy and that Martin is likely to lose his seat to the Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer.
One source noted that Fine Gael are "nearly sure" of three seats. 'Dynasty' TDs Deirdre Clune of the Barry clan and Simon Coveney are "very solid" and Senator Jerry Buttimer is "a dark horse" for the final seat.
"Ever since the second brother, Padraig, failed to get the council seat in Carrigaline, Michael has been in the horrors," said one FF source.
Other polls have indicated Mary Hanafin is in serious trouble in the Dublin constituency of Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown and ministers Batt O'Keefe, Noel Dempsey, Pat Carey, the chief whip John Curran and ministers of state, Conor Lenihan, and Barry Andrews will also be fighting for survival.
Mary Harney, the potential FF candidate for Dublin Mid West, is also in trouble, while the four Green ministers will also struggle to retain their seats.