FG survey predicts electoral gains for the party in Cork after its handling of Covid-19 crisis

FG survey predicts electoral gains for the party in Cork after its handling of Covid-19 crisis
The Whatsapp messages suggest Jerry Buttimer could win a second seat for Fine Gael in Cork South Central, leaving Fianna Fáil with one seat. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

FINE Gael has identified areas of Cork where the party could pick up seats, as it prepares for a possible election in the early autumn if government formation talks fail.

In WhatsApp messages circulated among some members of the party, Fine Gael has indicated that the party could pick up a further 24 seats if an election were to be held on August 21.

Three of the seats would be in Cork, according to the predictions.

Sources within the party said that the party is not yet on an election footing but that a poll expert has been tasked with surveying all polls conducted nationally since the election on February 8 to test the mood of the voters.

The WhatsApp message circulated recently predicts that:

- Sinn Féin could win two seats in Cork North Central, with Solidarity’s Mick Barry to lose his seat

- Jerry Buttimer could win a second seat for Fine Gael in Cork South Central, leaving Fianna Fáil with one seat

- John Paul O’Shea could take a seat from Fianna Fáil, returning a second seat for his party

- Social Democrats’ Holly Cairns could lose out to Fine Gael’s Tim Lombard after a mammoth battle between the two candidates last February

- Cork East would retain the status quo, with one seat each to Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Sinn Féin

Picture. John Allen
Picture. John Allen

Sources in the party say the survey bases its predictions on an upturn in support for Fine Gael because of its handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Some sources said that members only became aware of the spreadsheet of predictions in the last 48 hours. It has been circulated as Fine Gael engages in crunch talks with Fianna Fáil and the Greens on whether the three parties can come together to form a government.

One source said: “The gun is to our head in certain respects. The time is running out and the Offences Against the State Act must be reviewed at the end of June.’’

Such a review of the act takes place every year and requires approval from the Oireachtas.

Fine Gael sources said they are not expecting any programme for government to emerge this week as there are key issues outstanding including agriculture and emissions which could prove contentious.

It had been hoped that a programme could be drawn up by June 1, but it is now expected to be at least the middle of next week before any development is expected.

If a deal is reached between the negotiating teams, it will then have to go back to the memberships of each of the three parties for ratification.

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