Ireland’s Labour Party is planning an attack ad for the General Election that portrays Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin as a gay couple getting married.
The advertisement is one of several images that the party is considering as part of its election campaign, a senior Labour source has revealed.
The election ad is aimed at fueling fears over the possibility of a Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail government and presents the Coalition as the only alternative, the Irish Independent reports.
The attack ad has raised concerns over the potential for a US-style negative election campaign with parties engaged in cut-throat tactics in an effort to win votes.
The Labour ad comes after previous revelations that Fine Gael has plans to personally target Michael Martin during the election, having described him as “a shiver without a spine” in a private briefing.
The advertisement shows Adams and Martin as a agy couple outside Leinster House cutting a wedding cake, surrounded by left-wing TDs Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly as the wedding party. The ad warns voters that “This is one marriage we should vote NO to this year.” At the bottom are the words: “Vote Labour for a stable and balanced Government.”
The source said that the goal of the draft advert was to “make a serious point in a humorous way.”
However reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly negative with many believing the ad has a homophobic tinge to it.
According to the Irish Independenthe ad will likely infuriate Fianna Fail’s Martin, who has persistently ruled out a coalition with Sinn Fein, despite advances from Adams, who is open to forming a government with the other party.
The people who cobbled together that misguided, messy photoshop of a thing for Labour and those who signed off on it really need to cop on!— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) January 3, 2016
A spokeswoman for Micheál Martin said the ad showed that Joan Burton's party was "clutching at straws in desperation.”
"The stakes are very high for Labour, so they have to go for the negative campaign to get noticed," she added.
Fianna Fail's environment spokesman, Barry Cowen, said that any follow-up to Labour's 'Every little hurts under Fine Gael' ad would only "heighten people's abhorrence of their tactics.”
A Sinn Fein spokesman has said Labour was becoming "increasingly desperate" ahead of the election.Campaign efforts should accelerate in the coming weeks as it is speculated that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will hold the election on February 25 or 26.
Labour’s gay marriage ad, one of many that the party plans to unveil over the course of the campaign, is currently a draft and has not yet been commissioned to appear in any publication.