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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 0°C
# Final hours
Anton Savage: There's one message Enda and Joan are struggling to get across
“And time’s ticking.”


FINE GAEL AND Labour should be a little worried ahead of Friday’s vote, according to one communications and media expert. 

Anton Savage – who most of us know in his other radio presenter guise – dropped into HQ earlier this week for a chat.

Before getting a full report on his first year in Today FM’s mid-morning hotseat at the helm of The Anton Savage Show, he wore his spin doctoring cape momentarily to give us insights into the general election campaigns run by the various political parties.

And he hasn’t been that impressed. 

As current managing director of The Communications Clinic (alongside parents and fellow directors Tom Savage and Terry Prone), he has advised cabinet ministers and CEOs of global charities on media strategies and performances.

After watching the general election campaign closely over the past three weeks, he believes the two government parties should be scrambling to hammer home their claim to voters that they will be able to form the most stable coalition: / YouTube

If I was advising on it I’d be saying at the moment the offer as I see it from the established coalition parties, it’s like getting down on bended knee to somebody that you want to marry and saying, ‘Look, is there any chance you’d marry me, so that we can keep our relationship going’. To which the answer is, ‘I’m hardly blown away by that prospect’.

Savage said the alleged benefits of this potential marriage – ‘We’ll have a lovely family, a great future’ – isn’t coming across as strongly the parties might have hoped, “and time’s ticking”.

That said, he believes Fianna Fáil is coming out of the “boring” election campaign well due to Michéal Martin’s performance in recent debates, although he added that no one’s performance has been particularly stellar.

Savage said that in a four-way debate, like on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, it’s very difficult for a candidate to get their viewpoint across, but Martin has managed to stick his head above the rest.

“It’s not that he was forgotten,” Savage explained, but that due to Fianna Fáil’s shruken scale after their wipe out in 2011 that “he didn’t get the position of public primacy that a Fianna Fáil leader might have had”. / YouTube

I think in the past couple of debates a lot of people have gone, ‘God actually, he’s pretty good,’ and there’s been a bit of a resurgence in that, but that’s a shading among the rest. Has anything momentous happened in any of the debates so far? Nah.

From his plans on Today FM to the worst habits of Irish roads users, we’ll have more from Anton Savage in the coming week.

FactCheck: The truth and the lies from the final Leaders’ Debate >

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