Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fianna Fáil raise seat target after poll bounce

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will continue to play a central role in the coming days
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will continue to play a central role in the coming days
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fianna Fáil will target a number of key constituencies where it now believes it can secure two seats on the back of positive opinion poll results.

Micheál Martin's party will also deploy additional resources to constituencies where it was thought there was "no chance" at the start of the campaign but Fianna Fáil is now more confident it can win a seat.

The strategy will involve an increase in manpower and leaflet drops in areas seen as being "in play" as the gap between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil narrowed in the opinion polls last weekend.

"There are a few places which we will look at in the last few days where they might need a little bit of help to take a second seat and areas where we didn't think we had a chance of seat," a senior Fianna Fáil source said.

The constituencies where Fianna Fáil will target two seats include:

  • Wexford: James Brown and Malcolm Byrne;
  • Donegal: Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and Charlie McConalogue;
  • Cork North West: Michael Moynihan and Aindrias Moynihan.

And constituencies where single seats are being targeted:

  • Dublin Bay South: Jim O'Callaghan;
  • Waterford: Mary Butler.

Strategists are confident Fianna Fáil will pick up transfers from smaller parties and Independents from both sides of the political spectrum which will help secure the additional seats.

The party believes it is not as "toxic" as Fine Gael or Sinn Féin and is in line to receive lower preference votes from candidates as diverse as the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit and Renua.

Fianna Fáil director of elections and Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher will this week "hammer home" to activists and candidates that the party's election chances have greatly improved since the start of the campaign.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will continue to play a central role in the coming days, despite internal complaints from senior party figures over the lack of exposure they received during the campaign.

"Fellas were giving out and asking, 'Why are we playing a back role?'," a source said.

"If you have a striker on the pitch and he is scoring goals why would you substitute him?" the source added.

The party will stick to ruling out the possibility of a FG/FF coalition and push the message of Mr Martin as an alternative Taoiseach to Enda Kenny.

Irish Independent

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