Monday 20 November 2017

All parties must weather Sinn Fein storm, but FF must try and win ground in the capital

Fianna Fail leader, Michael Martin, with Cllr. Mary Fitzpatrick
Fianna Fail leader, Michael Martin, with Cllr. Mary Fitzpatrick

Brian Murphy

It was 1985 and the key election messages from the leader of Fianna Fail were economic recovery and party renewal. Sometimes the more times change, the more they stay the same.

Twenty-nine years ago, Charles Haughey said the 'locals' were an important 'first stage' in the effort to restore his party to government. His strategy was to place an emphasis on young candidates and to give special attention to Dublin, which was viewed as the party's electoral 'Achilles' heel.'

In preparing for the election, Ray Burke was put in charge of candidate selection for Co Dublin and Bertie Ahern was given the same responsibility for Dublin city. Brian Lenihan Senior was given the job of reorganising Fianna Fail party structures. The outcome was a stunning success. In the capital, Fianna Fail broke two decades of Fine Gael and Labour control of the local authorities. Nationally, Fianna Fail polled a massive 46pc of the vote.

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