So, is outright victory within FG's grasp?
FF has been saved by Micheal Martin, but Sinn Fein is haunted by Gerry Adams and the Provos - what will Mary Lou do
One of my mates lost his shirt in the recession. He is now a supporter of Sinn Fein. His view has become 'so what' if Sinn Fein is involved in criminality and 'so what' if the IRA Army Council controls Sinn Fein. He said as much last Sunday night when we had a pint in the company of another mate, who is a Labour supporter. I support neither of these or any party, although they both seem to think I am a supporter of Fianna Fail. Neither believes me when I tell them that I have not voted Fianna Fail since the last millennium. However, I try to explain to them that Fianna Fail is essential to the country, that it will never go away, that it is deeply ingrained in the DNA of people, as I have written, since before the Civil War, since the arrival of the Anglo-Norman and new English, in fact, to collide with the 'native' Gaelic people.
This argument is lost on them; so I tell them, well, actually I'm just up for the underdog, or against the mob for contrariness sake, and for a long time the mob had turned against Fianna Fail. Not any more. My mate, the Labour supporter agrees, but says Fianna Fail should not be returned to government for at least two terms. The majority agree. Our opinion poll today confirms it. Fianna Fail is unlikely to win this election, but it has been saved. Micheal Martin has done a good job. Fianna Fail will comfortably lead the opposition.
As I will tell my mates tonight, this poll also tells us that Fine Gael will win the election and that Enda Kenny, who has had a surge in popularity despite his ATM machines gaffe, will be the next Taoiseach. By and large, this poll tells us, people are happy enough with him, although they do not love him. He will do, seems to be the emerging consensus. He is more popular than Joan Burton and Gerry Adams, and neck-and-neck with Micheal Martin, so whatever his faults and failings, Kenny is relatively well regarded in this country at the moment. Until now, the only question was with whom would he form the next government, but this poll also raises a new prospect: can Fine Gael win an overall majority? Such is the surge in support for the party after the Budget that the possibility exists, if such momentum can be maintained. Now there's a thought.