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Gilmore facing opposition stint

LABOUR had been confident the 'Gilmore Gale' would sweep the party into power and suck up a record number of seats for the party.

But the much-hyped hopes Eamon Gilmore had of becoming Taoiseach appear to have been derailed by the party's lacklustre performance so far in the general election campaign.

While support for the party has only dropped slightly -- by one point to 23pc -- Labour has seen potential voters flock to Fine Gael, which is now enjoying a huge momentum with just over a week before the election.

So much so that a further slight push in support for their opposition rival could see Fine Gael form a single-party government.

This nightmare scenario could see Labour dumped back into the opposition benches despite easily doubling their seats in the Dail.

According to the latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll, the party is still on course to win anything up to 45 seats.

But any hopes Labour had of overtaking Fine Gael as the biggest party in the country have been dashed by an uninspiring election campaign.

Over the past fortnight Mr Gilmore -- whose personal satisfaction is down five points to 41pc -- has been criticised for his own poor performances, particularly in the first televised debate with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

The party has also become embroiled in a series of damaging rows with its likely partner in government.

Labour has consistently had to defend itself from Fine Gael attacks branding it as a "high tax" party.

Its plans to stretch the timeline to reduce the deficit over an extra year has also been heavily criticised.

Despite this, Mr Gilmore yesterday insisted he was happy with his performances, and he warned: "This election is far from over."

Irish Independent