Sunday 17 December 2017

Fianna Fail vows to win back former supporters

Michael Brennan, Fionnan Sheahan and Fiach Kelly

FIANNA Fail is vowing to continue to pursue former supporters who "lent their vote" to Fine Gael and Labour after the party's sudden rise in the polls.

The party reacted cautiously to its emergence as the second most-supported party in the country for the first time since its general election wipeout last year.

Fianna Fail jobs spokesman Dara Calleary said that nobody in the party was getting carried away with the poll because there was still a lot of work to be done.

"There were a lot of people, who, to quote 'Big Phil' Hogan, lent their vote to Fine Gael and Labour at the general election. We've got to make a big effort to get more of them back," he said.

Fianna Fail's support level of 21pc is ahead of the 17pc it got in the general election and has put it ahead of Sinn Fein on 20pc. Fianna Fail is crediting the work of its newly appointed local area representatives in Dublin, where it does not have a single TD following the death of Brian Lenihan. And it's also maintaining that it has been "more aggressive" in the Dail chamber.

Trust

But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said it would still take a long time to "regain trust with the people".

"It's a welcome poll but it's just one poll. For us the real poll will be the 2014 local elections," he said.

Although some had predicted the demise of Fianna Fail for its role in the economic collapse, Fine Gael Junior Minister Brian Hayes said the party was "too big to fail".

And Labour Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he was not really surprised by the recovery of the Fianna Fail vote because the party had a very long tradition and plenty of people based in different organisations over the past 12-14 years.

Mr Kenny's Fine Gael party dropped slightly by one point to 31pc while Labour rose by two points to 12pc, compared with the previous such poll last May. But Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore played down the significance of the rise in support for his Labour Party. He said it was still three years from the next general election.

Irish Independent

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