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Why Vincent Browne must be licking his lips in anticipation of Renua Ireland

Established parties are going to fight, and fight dirty, ahead of the general election – Lucinda Creighton’s party need to sort out their communication strategy, writes Paul Allen.

IT MAY BE Ireland’s newest political party, but Renua is already feeling bruised and battered.

Its founder Lucinda Creighton was busy this week telling all who would listen that politicians get treated too aggressively and unfairly when being interviewed. The Renua leader was seemingly still shook up from the ‘grilling’ she received on The Late Late Show when she appeared alongside fellow party member Eddie Hobbs to discuss the policies and vision of the new political party.

Hardened politicos must have had a good chuckle, as they know when it comes to tough interviews Ryan Tubridy is more puppy dog compared to Vincent ‘Rottweiler’ Browne.

The tables have turned and Lucinda had better get used to it

Of course, Lucinda does have a point. Political guests are treated differently and interviewers like to badger them relentlessly in an attempt to get them to trip up and look flustered. This is a fact of life and is a result of politicians in the past avoiding answering questions and leading interviewers on a merry dance. The tables have been turned and Lucinda had better get used to it.

In the run-up to next year’s general election the odds are that the rough and tumble of political dog fighting will only get worse. This is because we are about to witness a seismic shift in the political landscape in Ireland.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has ruled the roost since the formation of the State. However, Sinn Fein is set to disrupt this duopoly and usher in a new era where there is genuine choice between the centre right and the left.

This is not going to be a seamless transition for those involved in the upcoming election. The establishment parties are going to fight, and fight dirty, to try and ward off Sinn Fein’s advance. And Lucinda should realise there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. This is because every vote will now be vital and parties won’t want to give up any ground, especially to the ‘new kid on the block.’

Renua’s bumpy post-launch ride

Renua already has had a very bumpy ride its first week. Within hours of its launch party member Terence Flanagan went into meltdown live on air and was unable to answer straightforward questions put to him by Mary Wilson on RTE’s Drivetime.

Lucinda then managed to get herself involved in a spat with Matt Cooper after turning down his invitation to appear the Last Word, and then complained of the lack of time she was given on The Late Late Show to fully explain her party’s policies.

Just today, Shane Dunphy, a would-be candidate in Wexford for the fledgling party had to admit he had made “a stupid mistake” on Twitter by classifying “sexuality” as a “lifestyle choice”.

If Lucinda and her party are to survive they will have to become adept at putting across their key messages in direct, short, easily understood sentences that resonate with the electorate.

Time is always at a premium in interviews and these days even mild manners hosts will not give time for politicians to waffle or hem and haw rather than answer the tough questions.

But in their current form, Vincent Browne must be licking his lips at the prospects of going toe to toe with Lucinda and Co.

Paul Allen is managing director of Paul Allen and Associates PR. Follow his blog here.

‘A stupid mistake’: Renua candidate does not actually think sexuality is a lifestyle choice>

One of Lucinda’s Renua TDs had a nightmare interview>

Here’s everything we know about Renua Ireland and its policies>

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