Country needs FF says FG minister
Hayes speaks as new poll shows 61% do not want Sinn Fein in goverment
More than one in three voters now feel it is desirable that Fianna Fail recovers and becomes a viable alternative party of government.
While many have sought to write off the party since it lost 58 seats in the election, a Sunday Independent/ Millward Brown Lansdowne poll shows that the party is still regarded as the preferred alternative government.
A clear majority, 61 per cent, is also strongly opposed to the idea of Sinn Fein in government, despite their riding high in other opinion polls in recent weeks.
The encouraging poll for Fianna Fail, which came as the party held its Ard Fheis, in the RDS in Dublin, shows that 36 per cent agree with the statement that "it is desirable that Fianna Fail recover and become a realistic alternative party of Government."
Eighteen per cent of those polled said they "strongly agreed".
A Fine Gael minister has also, for the first time, said that a resurgent Fianna Fail is a good thing for Irish democracy.
Writing in today's Sunday Independent, Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said: "I would be foolish to write off Fianna Fail. It is too early to write its obituary.
"And anyway, even if we could, would that write-off be in the interests of Irish democracy?"
He said both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail must beware of the surge of Sinn Fein, who he said represents a threat to the democratic process.
"The choice between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael over the years provided a type of safe change option for the people at every election. The rise of Sinn Fein, in the polls at least, is a salutary warning that old politics might well be on the march again. Watch out, Fianna Fail. Watch out Irish democracy," said Mr Hayes.
For many (39 per cent), however, Fianna Fail is still being held responsible for the recession.
Fianna Fail Ard Fheis, page 2