Sunday 17 December 2017

Fine Gael 'meltdown': Minister takes swipe at Taoiseach's 'D4 individuals' who ran election

Meanwhile, a defeated TD calls on secretary general to resign as blame game erupts

Michael Ring and Enda Kenny in Castlebar
Michael Ring and Enda Kenny in Castlebar
Tom Barry of Fine Gael

Political Correspondent

FINE Gael chiefs are publicly coming under fire today over the party’s disastrous General Election campaign.

Party bosses are being accused of overseeing a “meltdown” which resulted in over 20 seats being lost.

Sports Minister Michael Ring said the election was run by “Dublin 4 individuals” in a clear swipe at Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s advisers.

“These people had no clue about the issues affecting Rural Ireland, “ he said.

Kerry deputy Brendan Griffin refused to be drawn on the leadership of Enda Kenny.

And he said that Fine Gael’s message of ‘keeping the recovery going’ was lost on the ground.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

“A key thing, if you look at all my messaging, was about spreading the recovery - a recovery for all citizens. That’s been what I’ve been calling for through my work in the Dáil,” he told Radio Kerry.

“Fine Gael wasn’t keeping that at the core of its messaging and I think that’s a big part of the problem - the ‘keep the recovery going message - which was the key message in the election for Fine Gael really should have been ‘A recovery for everyone’, which is what I have been saying on the ground and obviously, it resonated with people in Kerry.”

Meanwhile, Tom Barry - who lost his seat in Cork East - lashed out at senior party figures who he says are responsible for an electoral “meltdown”.

Mr Barry strongly criticised the decision to run three candidates in his constituency, which produced just one Fine Gael TD.

Speaking to, Mr Barry called for General Secretary Tom Curran to resign as a result of the electoral strategy.

And he hit out at the party’s DIrector of Elections and Dublin MEP Brian Hayes, who he said “should have stayed in Europe”.

Fine Gael TDs are due to meet on Thursday where it’s understood grievances over the election will be aired.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is also coming under fire over the loss of Michelle Mulherin in Mayo. Sources say Mr Kenny should have pushed for a more effective vote strategy between him, Ms Mulherin and Sports Minister Michael RIng.

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