FIANNA Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that he would not allow himself to be associated with the "shambolic" proposal for a directly elected Lord Mayor of Cork.
Speaking at Nemo Rangers GAA club, were ballots are currently being sorted, Mr Martin defended his decision to keep Fianna Fáil out of the campaign to back the plebiscite.
Though there is no proper tally on the plebiscite, those watching the ballots suggest that it will fail.
Mr Martin said that he backs the idea in principle, but said that Fine Gael botched the campaign.
He said that he urged the government to pull back on the plebiscite, and decided to sit it out when they pressed ahead.
"I am not going to be a party to a shambolic operation like this. I said it to the government. They can't expect people to be coming in behind a proposal that is poorly thought out.
"I've been a director of elections, I've been a government Minister that's brought in referendums like Lisbon - you don't insult the people, you take the people seriously and you take the issue seriously," he said.
Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer, who managed his party's plebiscite campaign in Cork, called Mr Martin's remarks "embarrassing and disappointing."
"If he believes in the idea, why didn't he come out and campaign.
"He should be ashamed of his own position regarding the plebiscite. He shouldn't be using a plebiscite to score political points against the government when this was about a bigger and wider vision for Cork and it's people.
"His response now illustrates the shortsightedness of his policy and his philosophy," he said.
Tallies suggest that Fianna Fáil will hold its 10 seats on Cork City Council, although one or two are still in danger, and the picture is similar across the country.
"We seem to be holding our own in the local elections," he said.
"There is a cautionary tale in that we have a lot of counts to go. It will be a long time before we have a first count, but I'm looking at 50% of the tallies and it looks like we're in a good enough position to hold the ten seats," he added.
He said that Fianna Fáil has closed in on Fine Gael, but refused to speculate on a potential general election, saying that you cannot use locals as accurate barometer for national support.
"For two years we've watched opinion polls say Fine Gael were ten points clear ahead of Fianna Fáil. That's evaporated," he said.