A Labour minister has urged voters to keep trust in his party despite some dire forecasts in pre-election opinion polls.
If the pollsters are correct, the junior coalition partner is heading for a battering in Friday’s vote. One of the latest surveys placed support for the party at just 4%.
Communications Minister Alex White insisted his party could benefit from a late surge in support, with many undecided voters opting for Labour in the final days of campaigning.
“There’s a lot of people and I meet them on the doors where they say ‘look we’d like to vote Labour, we’ve always voted Labour’ (but) they see it through the prism of their own lives – the last five years, the last eight years – and they are disappointed and, in some cases, they are angry and I understand that,” he said.
“But I say to people like that ‘keep trust with the Labour party’. We did a huge amount to ensure that this country recovered, we can now have a much different five years ahead. I think a lot of people will come to us in the last few days.”
The Behaviour & Attitudes poll for the Sunday Times, the results of which were leaked prior to publication on Sunday, rated support for Fine Gael at 30%, Fianna Fail at 22% and Sinn Fein at 15%.
Labour was relegated to sixth place, lagging behind the 5% attributed to the two main independent groupings – the Independent Alliance and Anti-Austerity Alliance/ People Before Profit. In other recent polls Labour support has been rated at around 8 to 9%.
Mr White criticised the stance of rival left wing candidates who were advocating a radical change in government direction.
He told RTE: “I hear some parties on the left, or the so-called left, saying they will never compromise on any of their policies – they will, unless they decide never to be in government, because government is about compromise.”
His remarks came as party leader Joan Burton outlined proposals she said would increase the take home pay of low or middle income working people, including eliminating Universal Social Charge (USC) on the first 72,000 euro of individual income.
Asked at the weekend to respond to the disappointing poll results, Ms Burton said: “I’m a fighter and I’m up for a fight. I’ve never stood back from a fight.”
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was forced to defend his use of language after he branded some critics in his hometown of Castlebar as “whingers”.
Mr Kenny was referring to those he said refused to acknowledge the recovery was having a positive impact on the town.
The Fine Gael leader stood by his remarks, despite facing calls for an apology.
“Some of them wouldn’t know sunshine if they saw it,” said Mr Kenny.
Fianna Fail candidate in Mayo Lisa Chambers criticised the Taoiseach, accusing him of being “out of touch”.
“The arrogance that has been the hallmark of Fine Gael in government and their national campaign is now emerging locally and is a sign of the pressure the Taoiseach is beginning to feel,” she said.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said he was not interested in poll results, insisting his focus was on the views of voters on the doorsteps.
Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness joined the campaign trail in Dublin on Sunday, urging the electorate to “seize the moment”.
He accused Fine Gael of resorting to the “politics of fear”.
“Sinn Fein are for the politics of hope,” he said.
“Next Friday, the people will have the opportunity to change things for the better, and Sinn Fein want to be part of that change.
“For the first time, in all our lifetimes, we have the opportunity to have Sinn Fein in government north and south.
“Governments that will stand up for equality. Governments that will deliver a fair recovery. Governments with a plan for unity and reconciliation. Governments with a plan to sustain the peace process. Governments that will act in the national interest.”
Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation. Check if you qualify for Irish citizenship
Did you know?Singing Cork barman has fans across the world - a video of the Irish music loving barman singing while he poured a pint went viral as people became enchanted by his easy going style and great voice. Check out his video.
Have you heard about…Irish people warned about the ‘Celtic curse’ - a potentially deadly blood condition, that harms the liver, heart and pancreas, has been labelled the ‘Celtic Curse’ because more people in Ireland are prone to it than people from other countries. Find out more.
What about this…‘Irish giant’ Tom Crean was one of the bravest and toughest explorers of the early part of the 20th century. Thanks to his positivity and faith, he managed to not only survive horrific conditions but also save the lives of his colleagues. Find out more.