Fianna Fáil set to retain three of its four Euro seats

FIANNA FÁIL is set to hold at least three of its four seats in the European Parliament, despite the slump in the party vote, …

FIANNA FÁIL is set to hold at least three of its four seats in the European Parliament, despite the slump in the party vote, but Libertas founder Declan Ganley is unlikely to be elected, according to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.

The Fianna Fáil MEP at risk is Eoin Ryan in Dublin who could lose out to Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin in the battle for the last seat in the capital.

Another MEP in difficulty is Kathy Sinnott in the South constituency who is facing a challenge from the Labour Party and Sinn Féin.

The poll also shows that Fine Gael is facing an uphill struggle to retain its current five seats, while Labour will hold its existing seat and is in with a strong chance of gaining two more.


The leading vote-getter in the poll, which was conducted with mock ballot papers, is Maireád McGuinness of Fine Gael.

Brian Crowley of Fianna Fáil is the second biggest vote-getter in the country.

The poll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of this week among a representative sample of 2,000 voters. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 500 people in each of the four Euro constituencies. The margin of error is 2 per cent.

Declan Ganley of Libertas is on just 9 per cent of the first preference vote in the North West constituency and would need to double that vote to have a chance of winning a seat.

Jim Higgins of Fine Gael leads the field in that constituency with 20 per cent, closely followed by Pat “The Cope” Gallagher of Fianna Fáil, on 19 per cent, and Independent Marian Harkin on 18 per cent.

Sinn Féin candidate Pádraig MacLochlainn is on 10 per cent, followed by Mr Ganley on 9 per cent.

The likely winners in North West are Mr Higgins, Mr Gallagher and Ms Harkin.

In Dublin, which has lost a seat to become a three-seat constituency, Gay Mitchell of Fine Gael leads the field with 26 per cent, followed by Proinsias De Rossa of the Labour Party with 21 per cent, and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin with 14 per cent.

Eoin Ryan is back on 11 per cent followed by Independent Patricia McKenna, on 8 per cent, Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party on 7 per cent, Deirdre De Búrca of the Greens on 6 per cent and Eibhlín Byrne of Fianna Fáil on 5 per cent. Caroline Simons of Libertas is on just 1 per cent of the vote.

While Mr Ryan will get significant transfers from his party running- mate, he will need to improve his first preference total to have a realistic chance of edging out Sinn Féin to hold his seat.

In the East constituency it is the Fine Gael seat that is under threat following the decision of Avril Doyle not to seek another term. The party’s MEP, Maireád McGuinness, is far ahead of the rest of the field on 33 per cent, followed by Liam Aylward of Fianna Fáil on 19 per cent and Nessa Childers of Labour on 17 per cent. The next highest candidate is John Paul Phelan of Fine Gael who trails well behind the top three on 9 per cent.

Ms Childers will take a seat for Labour unless Fine Gael can manage to divide the votes of its two candidates much more evenly.

In the South constituency, Brian Crowley of Fianna Fáil has retained his poll-topping position with 27 per cent, followed by former GAA president and Fine Gael candidate, Seán Kelly, with 17 per cent.

Alan Kelly of Labour is next with 13 per cent, closely followed by sitting Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott, and Sinn Féin’s Toireasa Ferris who are both on 12 per cent. Ms Sinnott’s fate will hinge on transfers from weaker candidates.