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Coalition leaders push for extra few seats from voters

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton have called on voters to put the coalition government back in office.

On the eve of the election the Fine Gael and Labour leaders came together to make a last-ditch plea in the hope of securing an extra few seats that might swing the poll in their favour.

Mr Kenny spent the final morning canvassing commuters on Leeson St Bridge in Dublin before joining his coalition colleague for the appeal.

“What I’d like to happen is that a clear signal would be given and a clear decision made by the people when they do cast their votes,” he said.

“One of the ways they can avoid confusion and the instability and the dangers in that is to support the government that has been in office for the last five years.”

Ms Burton, who is in a dogfight to take the final seat in her Dublin West constituency, made a direct appeal for people to consider how their vote would affect the outcome of the Dail.

“I’m asking people to think twice before they cast their ballot tomorrow because a very small percentage shift for both parties would actually see a significant number of TDs returned to represent both Labour and Fine Gael,” she said.

A broadcasting moratorium kicks in on election coverage from 2pm but online and print media have free rein over their coverage as decision day approaches.

Polling stations opened on the islands off Donegal, Mayo and Galway today.

Some 751 people are registered to vote on Arranmore, Tory, Inishbofin, Gola and Innisfree off the north-west with ferries bringing ballot boxes back and forth during the day and the Air Corps providing the service to Tory, nine miles offshore.

Off Mayo, boats were again being used in relatively mild conditions to transport boxes to Clare Island, Inishbiggle, Inishturk, and also to the Aran Islands of Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr off Galway.

Voting on islands off Cork takes place at the same time as the rest of the country.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, canvassing in Cork, said there is a choice of two coalitions, one led by his party or one led by Fine Gael.

Acknowledging his own party made mistakes, he said: ” We do not need another government of spin and broken promises. Fine Gael and Labour are out of touch and attacking anyone who point out any problems.

“We cannot have more of the same. Ireland can have an economic recovery as well as a decent society.”

In his final plea Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams called on young people to lead a peaceful rising at the ballot box.

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“This election has been a battle of ideas. The choice is between massive tax breaks for the wealthiest or fairness for everybody else. Its the golden circles versus the people. But change is possible, the marriage referendum is proof of that,” he said.

“Young people can once again be to the forefront in a peaceful rising at the ballot box. The republic should be the property of the people.”


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