The latest news on the Irish General Election
Enda Kenny is laughing all the way to the Dail according to the latest – and final - opinion poll of the 2011 Irish General Election.
Bookies at Paddy Power will probably stop taking bets on Kenny for Taoiseach after their Red C poll lifted his Fine Gael party to an incredible 40% support.
Kenny himself admitted that he has never seen the Blueshirts as popular in any opinion poll but insisted it means nothing ahead of Friday’s polling.
“Trends in polls are important but the real poll takes place on Friday,” Kenny told his namesake Pat on RTE Radio.
“It is the first time I can recall Fine Gael at that level but my message to candidates and canvassers is that I do not want to see any sign of complacency.
“I expect them to work away until the polls close at 10pm on Friday night, just as I will.”
The Paddy Power poll has Labour coming up second to Fine Gael on 18% with Fianna Fail still struggling on 15%.
Independents and others are at 14%, Sinn Fein are on 10%, the Greens are up to 3% and ‘undecideds’ now account for 13% of the electorate.
Earlier, the second last opinion poll, published in Wednesday’s Irish Independent, claimed that Fine Gael will fall just short of enough seats for a single party government with a coalition with Labour again the most likely outcome.
The Millward Brown Lansdowne poll suggests Fine Gael and Labour will win 115 seats between them on Friday.
Fianna Fail, down to 14% support, could win less than 20 seats according to the Indo survey.
If the results of this opinion poll were repeated on polling day then Fianna Fail have just 17 Dail seats with Fine Gael on a record 78 seats. Labour would have 37 TDs, Sinn Fein 14 and Independents 20 seats with no seat for the Greens.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore claimed on Wednesday morning that his candidates will do better than this poll suggests while Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin again said that his party can make a decisive contribution to the next Dail.
The best news for those observing the election exchanges is that this Paddy Power/Red C poll is, apparently, the final opinion poll of the campaign. Thank God!
There’s a great story in Cork where a publican pulls a pint in one General Election constituency – and serves it in another.
Incredibly John O’Mahony’s bar in Watergrasshill, just outside Cork City, has been split down the middle after two local constituencies were redrawn.
The old bar and most of the pub is in the townland of Meenane and situated in the Cork North Central Constituency.
But the new bar, built into a building next door to the original, is actually in the townland of Mitchelsfort and in the constituency of Cork East.
“It certainly leads to a bit of banter, but there are other parts of the village where next door neighbors are also in different constituencies,” O’Mahony told the Irish Examiner.
Nice row brewing in Galway where local Lord Mayor and General Election candidate Michael Crowe has admitted that he failed to declare tens of thousands of Euros in rent, paid by the local authority he is a member of.
A formal complaint has been lodged with Galway City Council against the Fianna Fail Mayor regarding income of around €40,000 a year which Crowe receives from the council under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).
Crowe, who owns 11 investment properties in Galway, failed to declare the income on his 2008 submission under the Ethics Law for all politicians but has now corrected his mistake.
He told the Irish Independent: “This was a genuine mistake, there was no attempt to intentionally deceive.”
Labour are the party to vote for on Friday if your wife is about to go into ….. Labour.
The left wing party confirmed on Wednesday that it will introduce paternity leave as a legal right for all fathers to be if it is delivered into government on Friday.
The Labour Party has also pledged to afford both parents the right to a paid career break after the birth of a child and has promised not to cut child benefit.
And they’re off …… the 2011 General Election is already underway for 950 voters off the Donegal and Mayo coasts.
Polling stations opened early on Wednesday morning on the islands of Arranmore, Gola, Inishboffin, Inishfree, Tory Island, Clare Island, Inishbiggle and Inishturk.
Inishfree is the smallest polling station in the country, accounting for just 25 votes.
Amongst those seeking votes from the islanders on Wednesday are Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail’s Mary Coughlan and Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty.
Outgoing Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s brother Barry has had to sneak in a back door to avoid angry protestors at a meeting in his home constituency in Offaly.
Cowen had to avoid protests over the closure of three of the county’s eight fire stations as he tried to enter a council meeting.
The ‘Save Our Stations’ group have repeatedly targeted Cowen as he tries to win the seat held by his brother since 1984.
Resistance to allow same sex marriages is hurting Fine Gael whose Facebook page has been attacked by hundreds of gay rights campaigners.
The party has even had to delete comments against their policy on gay marriage from the wall of their official Facebook page.
In another embarrassing revelation for the Blueshirts, it has emerged that the video game ‘Go Ireland’ on their website was actually created in America!
Even the Farmers are going blue. A poll conducted by the Irish Farmers’ Association has support for Fine Gael at a massive 60% within the farming community with Fianna Fail down to 19% and Sinn Fein and Labour on 5% each. Some 10% of farmers say they will vote for independents on Friday – but not one farmer polled offered any support for the Greens!
TV3 reporter Ursula Halligan has received an apology from Fianna Fail over her handling of a recent Enda Kenny interview.
The flame haired reporter was accused of sidetracking the issue of Kenny’s teaching pension but Fianna Fail now accept that no deal was in place between Kenny and the station not to refer to the issue.
Fine Gael will reverse the ban on stag hunting according to leader Enda Kenny but they won’t allow the stags to be killed. “I have no intention of presiding over the slaughter of Irish red deer,” said Kenny on Wednesday.
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