Bruton delighted with FG performance


Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton has said he never really believed poll figures which put the party on 40 per cent.

Mr Bruton, who topped the poll in Dublin North Central, said there was “a bit of froth” in those ratings which were recorded in polls carried out last weekend and Fine Gael's actual vote was closer to their true support.

Fine Gael won 36.1 per cent of the vote, down on a clutch of opinion polls which put the party on between 37 per cent and 40 per cent a week ago.

Mr Bruton credited the Labour Party with its campaign in recent days which raised the possibility of an overall majority for Fine Gael as the PDs had done with their "single party government, no thanks" campaign in 2002.

“The talk of an overall majority did not quite gel with people. It was something that the public did not particularly favour,” he said.

Mr Bruton said he was shocked at how badly Fianna Fáil had done despite the opinion polls and he felt personally sorry for many TDs losing their seat, most notably his constituency colleague Seán Haughey.

“It is unprecedented in the scale of the collapse of a party. The opinion polls were expecting it, but to actually see major names swept away reflects that people’s lives have been convulsed in recent years.

“I do believe they made catastrophic mistakes, but equally very decent committed people have been swept away in politics. It is business not personal when the voters no longer want to support your party. In politics you have to learn to distinguish that.”

Mr Bruton topped the poll in Dublin North Central, where Fianna Fáil’s Sean Haughey lost his seat to Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordan. Independent Finian McGrath held his seat.