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The TrailFix: Two weeks to go and - as Bertie says - we're all asleep

The best and worst bits from today’s #ge16 campaign trail.

EVERY NIGHT DURING the general election, TheJournal.ie brings you the latest from the Election 2016 campaign trail.

12/2/2016 General Election Campaigns Starts The Independent Alliance at a press conference in Dublin today. Source: Leah Farrell

Everybody’s talking about

Whatever you may think of him, few can match Bertie Ahern when it comes to winning elections and the former taoiseach’s observations of the last week-and-a-half are fairly accurate. He’s told RTÉ News that the campaign is “asleep” and that many people won’t engage until the final leaders’ debate a few days out from polling.

He’s right. This election, as we’ve written already this week, just hasn’t taken off yet. In order for any of the parties to start making a game-changing impression on the polls there needs to be some spark of life that so far hasn’t happened.

11/2/2014 Paidi O Se Tournaments The Bert

Even though last night’s leaders’ debate was a lively and shouty affair there was nothing new as each of the leaders pursued their usual lines of attack.

We’re now two weeks out from d-day with the opinion polls not having shifted substantially either way for any party. Another round of weekend opinion polls will be watched closely by everyone who’s deeply engrossed in this election – mostly the politicians and the media – while the rest of the country, as Bertie says, waits until the final week.

Slap Down of the Day

The SocDems dismissed a report that Fine Gael would be prepared to offer the party two government posts in exchange for support with a party spokesperson saying:

The Social Democrats are not here to make up the numbers. Stories such as these clearly demonstrate how Fine Gael’s direction of government has left it out of touch, out of time and out of luck. They are trying to co-opt the relevancy of our policies and judging by last night’s unedifying leader debate spectacle you can see why they might try.

- Social Democrats. Socia Catherine Murphy at the launch of the Social Democrats' affordable housing policy today. Source: Sam Boal

Bull**** Claim of the Day

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty released a statement earlier expressing mock concern at the apparent disappearance of the Fianna Fáil frontbench:

Fianna Fáil’s front bench spokespeople are missing in action. Perhaps they have taken the party’s policies with them. Perhaps they can tell us why they have no jobs plan. Perhaps they can tell us why they want to keep taxes high. Perhaps they can tell us how they will generate the resources to invest in better services. Or perhaps they’re the same old Fianna Fáil with no plan to keep the recovery going.

It was a statement fairly devoid of substance and, in all honesty, truth. Fianna Fáil frontbench spokespeople have been out launching party policies on a daily basis since the election began. Only today did we have children’s spokesperson Robert Troy publishing plans to make childcare more affordable.

FactCheck of the Day


As part of our general election coverage, we’re testing the truth of claims made by candidates and parties on the campaign trail. Dan MacGuill has done a comprehensive analysis of some of the claims made in last night’s TV debate.

WTF Moment of the Day

There’s just so much going on in the picture that we don’t even know where to begin.

Also, Labour senator Lorraine Higgins has this offering for Valentine’s Day.

It was a good day for

  • SocDem hopeful James Heffernan tells us that while out canvassing this evening he managed to catch a frog that jumped in the door of one Limerick resident’s home. Check out the video.
  • The Greens’ manifesto has lots of interesting ideas as the party awaits a High Court decision on Monday as to whether it can participate in the RTÉ leaders’ debate.
  • Cork South-Central TD Jerry Buttimer told us all about the visit he had from the Taoiseach. He was able to give him one of his special Valentine’s Day Kit Kats.


It was a bad day for

Tomorrow’s news today: What’s happening on the campaign trail

  • Fine Gael: The Taoiseach will visit Richardson’s suckler cow, sheep and tillage farm in Carlow with Simon Coveney and Tom Hayes to launch the party’s plans for the agri-food sector. He will also canvass in Cavan-Monaghan. 
  • Labour: Perhaps mindful of that poll in the week, Joan Burton is canvassing in Blanchardstown. Meanwhile, ministers Alex White and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin are launching the party’s plans for safer communities.
  • Fianna Fáil: Willie O’Dea will launch the party’s plans for older people. Micheál Martin is canvassing in Sligo and Leitrim.
  • Sinn Féin: Mary Lou McDonald will unveil a range of measures to benefit young people and attend the Right2Change confernce in the Mansion House. Gerry Adams is canvassing in Dublin.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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