Fianna Fail are the sleeping giant of the Irish General Election. In the history of the State, up to 2011, they have been Ireland’s largest party. They have the biggest gene pool of traditional voters and the biggest network of Fianna Fail voting ‘being in the family’. We’re talking deep-rooted dynasties all around the country. Everyone is dissing FF’s prospects on the basis of poor polling performances (before a recent rise) and general media apathy towards the party. But make no mistake, they are the hardest organisation to read.
The other thing to consider is this: if you scratch a Fine Gael strategist and ask them who they most fear losing votes to in this election, they will say ‘Fianna Fail.’ A disaffected Fine Gael voter from 2011 is more likely to vote for Fianna Fail, than for Sinn Fein or a left wing candidate. Therefore, Fianna Fail represent the most potent threat to Fine Gael’s ambitions.
Dun Laoghaire: Mary Hanafin has a sporting chance. You have a three-seater here as the Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett, is returned to Leinster House automatically. The Labour vote will collapse with the retirement of Eamon Gilmore. Fine Gael are certain of one, with Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Richard Boyd Barrett will probably top the poll for the People Before Profit Alliance. Hanafin can buck the trend of Fine Gael grabbing another seat here by relying on old loyalties and a consolidated, smart campaign.