Labour party won't be a 'cheap date' and Micheál back on home turf; today's election update  

Labour party won't be a 'cheap date' and Micheál back on home turf; today's election update  

Fine Gael were criticised for distributing thousands of leaflets in the last week of the General Election campaign which claim Fianna Fáil will go into coalition with Sinn Féin.

Micheál Martin was out and about in county Cork today, and joined James O’Connor to canvass in Youghal.

The retail sector in the town was raised by the businesswoman who runs Kay’s Flowers at Clarke’s.

“Micheál what we need is industries. We have nothing. We’re really struggling, it’s hard. I know we have the boardwalk, and we find it’s great but in actual fact they’re just coming to the boardwalk and going away again to Cork.

“We do need help in the town.” 

She highlighted the more than 40 vacant premises in the town: “I count them because I do the windows for the derelict buildings. We dress them just so they look good. It’s just to make the town look good,” she said.

FF Leader Micheal Martin talks with florist Kay Curtin while canvassing in with local candidate James O’Connor in Youghal, Cork EastPic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
FF Leader Micheal Martin talks with florist Kay Curtin while canvassing in with local candidate James O’Connor in Youghal, Cork EastPic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Plenty of passersby stopped to shake Micheál and James’ hands, and to wish them well, but the reception wasn’t as positive from everyone.

“There’s no chips for ye here lads,” was the comment from one man working in a local chipper, leading the pair to leave as quickly as they got there.

They were flanked by a significant number of canvassers on their rounds, which led one Sinn Féin supporter to ask: “Do you need any more bodyguards?” when they entered another establishment.

A trip to Supervalu saw Micheál posing with a Valentine’s teddy bear which was holding a heart with ‘kiss’ written across it. “Could be the kiss of death,” one passer-by quipped.

Meanwhile, the Old Imperial Hotel provided Mr Martin with a pint of Beamish, but he refused to take a sip - not until Sunday.

Speaking outside the hotel Micheál Martin was confident his party will hold and could gain seats across the Cork constituencies in the election. When asked who he thought would lose out as a result, he was coy: “I don’t want to be predicting who’ll lose out because I’m not going to give any candidate a boost in the old style of the ‘I’m in trouble kind of approach’,” he laughed.

LABOUR PARTY 

The Labour Party, meanwhile, will not be "a cheap date" when it comes to forming a government with other parties.

Labour candidate Ged Nash said the party is confident it can double the number of seats it had in the previous government from seven to 14.

Speaking in Dublin at the party's final press conference of the campaign on Thursday, Mr Nash said it has become clear no party will win a majority and the outcome is unclear.

Mr Nash said the party has five key demands as a precondition to any potential coalition with any of the other parties.

"We have made it very very clear that we're not going to be in any way a cheap date for anybody," he said.

The five "bottom lines", he said, are introducing a living wage, fixing the health service, building homes, measures to tackle climate change and affordable childcare.

GREEN PARTY 

The Green Party insists it will be unified in its message if elected to government despite different opinions within the party.

Dublin Bay North candidate for the party David Healy confirmed in recent days that he was against repealing the Eighth Amendment, which saw free, safe, legal abortion implemented in the state.

While the Green Party took a pro-choice stance in the referendum, Mr Healy previously said he had taken the decision as a matter of conscience to vote no.

Meanwhile the candidate for Mayo, Saoirse McHugh, said on Thursday she would be in favour of "getting rid" of the Special Criminal Court, an election talking point that has been used to criticise Sinn Fein.

In the final day of the campaign, leader Eamon Ryan sought to assure voters that if elected to parliament, the party would have a unity message.

"One of the characteristics of our party, from the very start, is that it is open to different opinions and different views, whatever subject it's on.

"And I think in that referendum, it was managed well."

He continued: "Of course in our party, just as every other party, there will be people who have voted in a variety of different ways.

"But one thing also we are good at... we also act collectively when it comes to voting in the Dáil and all our candidates, whatever their personal views, commit to say, OK, we will discuss and we will air and be willing to show and have differences, but actually when it comes down in the parliament, we work as a team.

FF CANDIDATE HITS OUT AT FG 

Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin Bay South Jim O'Callaghan has reiterated that his party will not go into coalition with Sinn Féin.

"The fixed will of our political party is that we will not enter into government with Sinn Féin," he said. 

Mr O'Callaghan criticised Fine Gael for distributing thousands of leaflets in the last week of the General Election campaign which claim Fianna Fáil will go into coalition with Sinn Féin.

"It is a desperate last-minute attempt to sway the electorate," he said.

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