FG swings towards a quick campaign
Fine Gael looks increasingly likely to opt for a three-week election campaign in an effort to capitalise on its strong standings in the polls, writes Kevin Doyle.
Party strategists believe that a "short, snappy" canvass will help them secure the maximum seats possible, while limiting the time for new parties, such as Renua and the Social Democrats, to get their message across.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny alluded to the idea of a short campaign while addressing a gathering of the European People's Party in Madrid last week, where he also said the election would be held in early spring.
Officials have carefully studied the success of David Cameron's Conservative Party in claiming an overall majority in the UK elections last May.
The House of Commons was dissolved on March 30 and there was a 37-day gap before voters went to the polls on May 7.
The Irish Independent understands that there was a train of thought within Fine Gael that a similarly long campaign would be a good idea.
But with Fine Gael now riding high in the polls, the view has changed.
"A really well-disciplined and focused three weeks would be the favoured approach. We know our message and should be able to get it across in that time," said a source.
"If you can pick up momentum early, it's easier to sustain for that period."
A shorter campaign would also make it easier to limit the number of media appearances and TV debates expected from the Taoiseach.
It is widely accepted that Mr Kenny is not comfortable in such debates and Opposition parties have already begun calling for a series of television showdowns.