Cork North-Central by-election: Fianna Fáil confident of holding seat despite strong challengers
Internal party polls have indicated a three-way fight in the Cork North-Central by-election with Fianna Fáil now strongly tipped for victory.
Fianna Fáil - which has never failed to hold a Dáil berth in Jack Lynch's old stomping ground - is increasingly confident that Councillor Pádraig O'Sullivan will hold the seat vacated by new MEP Billy Kelleher.
Fianna Fáil is battling Senator Colm Burke of Fine Gael, who lost a by-election in Cork North-Central in 1994, and Councillor Thomas Gould of Sinn Féin, who delivered a strong performance at the 2016 General Election.
A senior Fianna Fáil source said internal polls were encouraging and the party was hopeful of success.
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"We expected a strong challenge from Fine Gael and Sinn Féin but we are quietly confident that things will go our way at the count in Nemo on Saturday," he said.
Three years ago Fianna Fáil polled 14,286 first preference votes in Cork North-Central.
Fine Gael insisted it expects Mr Burke to deliver a strong vote - but acknowledged transfers may prove a problem in the by-election showdown.
Sinn Féin said it hopes transfers from the large number of left-wing candidates will leave it firmly in contention.
The other candidates are Martin Condon (Ind); James Coughlan (Workers' Party); Sinéad Halpin (Social Democrats); Charlie Keddy (Ind); Thomas Kiely (Ind); John Maher (Labour); Oliver Moran (Green Party); Fiona Ryan (Solidarity/People-Before-Profit); Finian Toomey (Aontú).