Even if Fianna Fáil was offering free gold as opposed to free cheese right now, the chances are they’d lose all four outstanding Dáil by-elections.
After all, a sitting government hasn’t won a by-election since Noel Treacy took a seat in Galway East back in November 1982, so history is certainly stacked against them.
But they’ve got a lot more than that to counteract. With their polling figures at a historic low since records began, the Soldiers of Destiny are facing a certain kicking at the ballot box.
On RTE’s ‘The Week In Politics’, Minister of State Conor Lenihan said it was “very unlikely” that his party would retain the Donegal South West seat vacated by Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher 18 months ago.
To Minister Lenihan’s credit, at least he shared a moment of realism on a national platform, something few of his colleagues (Noel Dempsey, anyone?) are ever likely to utter.
Were Fianna Fáil to win any of the four vacant Dáil seats, they would need to move hell, high water and a cheese mountain the size of Everest to be even in with a sporting chance.
Interestingly, in the light of George Lee’s disastrous foray into Leinster House, the senior government party surely know that parachuting a ‘celebrity’ candidate into the ring isn’t the answer.
Take Waterford for example, where Martin Cullen’s seat in the Lower House has sat empty since March 8th.
While the declared and prospective candidates have been on the campaign trail for several months respectively, Fianna Fáil have shown no inclination to announce their Waterford by-election candidate.
It’s difficult to look at the local organisation’s level of public inaction on the by-election as anything other than an effective surrender of the pending plebiscite.
And surely it’s not overstating things to suggest that Fianna Fáil has given up on the seat given how tight-lipped they remain on the issue?
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