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Fianna Fáil's Chris Andrews celebrates winning his Dáil seat in 2007. Andrews believes his party should seek a merger with Fine Gael.

FF backbencher: we should merge with Fine Gael

Chris Andrews says neither party is gaining traction in opinion polls because the public can’t tell them apart.

A FIANNA FÁIL back-bench TD has come up with an unusual way of effectively guaranteeing the party’s continued success at elections, in spite of its consistently dire opinion poll performances – he has suggested a merger with Fine Gael.

Chris Andrews, a TD for Dublin South East, made the suggestion on Saturday evening on his Twitter page in the wake of the latest Red C opinion p0ll, published in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, which gave his party just 18% of public support, down 6% in just four weeks.

Responding to a tweet from a user (presumably) criticising the inner workings of the party, Andrews said:

FG are not getting the traction in the polls because people see little difference between FF and FG. A merger makes sense to me

Asked when he thought such a merger could take place, he then added:

If people were serious it shouldn’t take long. I believe there is as much difference within FF as there is between FF and FG

He yesterday added:

Civil war alignment is no longer relevant. Times have changed and body politic needs to change. My opinion – take it or leave it.

Speaking on this morning’s Morning Ireland, Andrews explained that his argument for a ‘merger’ would perhaps have been better described as a “realignment of the political groups within the body politic”.

“Most people would say there’s little difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – and even within Labour as well – and I’m just reflecting this view,” he said.

He admitted that the coming general election would be undoubtedly the toughest he would ever have faced, and that his intention would be that political parties would realign to a left-of-centre and right-of-centre model, as is observed by most European countries.

Though Andrews’ comments could be construed as a panic tactic as Fianna Fáil seeks to avoid an electoral slaughter, the fact that he comes from a party dynasty – his brother Barry is a ‘super-junior’ minister, while his father Niall, uncle David and grandfather Todd were all also senior members of the party – may add more weight to his suggestion.

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