Sunday 17 December 2017

Elections 2014: What candidates in the hunt need to do

Emer Costello's giant election poster on Liberty Hall
Emer Costello's giant election poster on Liberty Hall
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

THE results of the Irish Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll indicate the final seat in each of the three European constituencies is still up for grabs.

In Ireland South, Fianna Fail's Brian Crowley, Sinn Fein's Liadh Ni Riada and Fine Gael's Sean Kelly are in prime position, with Fine Gael's Deirdre Clune and Simon Harris scrapping for the last seat.

In Ireland Midlands-North-West, Sinn Fein's Matt Carthy, Independent Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness are leading the field, with Independent Marian Harkin fighting with Fianna Fail's Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher and Thomas Byrne for the last seat.

In Dublin, Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan and Fine Gael's Brian Hayes have pulled ahead, leaving Independent Nessa Childers (above), Fianna Fail's Mary Fitzpatrick and Labour's Emer Costello in a dogfight for the last seat.

Here's what the parties need to focus on in the final days:

Fine Gael: Simon Harris has to get into as many debates as possible with Deirdre Clune, where she is weak, and emphasise the fact he's the only candidate in contention outside the south-west. Party strategists need to bolster Mairead McGuinness by encouraging core voters to ditch Jim Higgins.

Labour Party: Pray. Emer Costello keeping her seat is now The Alamo for Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, so an already well-resourced campaign needs a final push by emphasising her experience.

Fianna Fail: Fianna Fail has a quota between Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher and Thomas Byrne, but whoever goes out first will have to transfer heavily to their colleague. Therefore, each candidate will have to press hard for party supporters to give their number twos for their running mates.

Sinn Fein: Keep up the momentum. The party's three candidates are coasting and voters like to back a winner, but getting the turnout on the day will still be hugely important.

Independents: Tap into the public appetite for non-party candidates. Also, Marian Harkin and Nessa Childers need to play up their transfer friendliness.

Irish Independent

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