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Phil Hogan to nation: Lend me your votes

It follows a poll which shows an expected drop of seven per cent in support for Fine Gael in Friday’s local elections, compared to the last ballot five years ago.

Image: RTÉ Screengrab

FINE GAEL’S DIRECTOR of Elections Phil Hogan has said he expects to hold on to many of the votes the party ‘borrowed’ from Fianna Fáil at the last General Election.

He was responding to questions on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics this afternoon, based on the latest round of opinion polls published in the weekend papers.

Results in this morning’s Sunday Times showed an expected drop of seven per cent in support for Fine Gael in Friday’s local elections, compared to the last ballot five years ago.

Fianna Fáil support was estimated at 22 per cent in the paper this morning, down three points on 2009. Sinn Féin and independents are both set to surge, according to the Behaviour & Attitudes survey.

“Media pundits don’t always get it right,” Hogan said.

Asked whether he though the issue of water charges would hinder the party’s performance, he said “we’ll wait and see”.

The people of Ireland actually know quite well that there was difficult decisions had to be made in the last three years.

“When Fine Gael and Labour set out to save the country in the last three years it was always going to be difficult.

“We’re signed up to certain measures that had to be taken including property tax and water charges.”

Michael Moynihan, representing Fianna Fáil on the programme, insisted the ‘lease’ of votes was over and said “there is a certain amount of those voters that are coming back”.

Asked whether the water charges issue was coming up ‘on the doorsteps’, Labour Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said several times that voters had been telling her they recognised a recovery was under way.

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Labour’s support is also expected to take a battering compared to the party’s 2009 performance, according to the Sunday Times poll — down 8 points to 7 per cent. 

Sinn Féin’s support is up ten points on the last local elections according to the poll. The party’s Pearse Doherty insisted Friday’s local and European vote was not a referendum on Gerry Adams leadership.

“It’s very clear that it’s not,” he said, adding that people had been flocking to shake Adams’ hand on a recent campaign stop in Cork.

Read: 3 in 4 of voters don’t believe water charges will be “fair and equitable”

Read: What matters to the voters of Longford-Westmeath?

Read: What matters to the voters of Dublin West?

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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