Political leaders on campaign trail


With just four days to go before the ballot boxes open, political leaders have stepped up campaigning ahead of Friday's elections.

Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Brian Cowen is to visit Co Cavan later today where he is to lay the foundation stone at the Cootehill Community Childcare Centre and visit a wind farm located close to Cootehill.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is campaigning in Co Cork today while Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore is in Dublin.

Earlier today Mr Cowen was in the capital with Fianna Fail European election candidates Eoin Ryan MEP and Eibhlin Byrne.

Speaking at a press conference, the Taoiseach warned voters in the capital that the policies of Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party would not bring either jobs or investment to Dublin.

Mr Cowen was commenting following the latest Irish TimesTNS/mrbi opinion poll which shows that Socialist Party candidate Joe Higgins is now in the reckoning for the final European seat in the capital along with Eoin Ryan and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin.

Calling on voters to support his party's candidates, Mr Cowen said: "the last thing Dublin and Ireland needs are representatives in Europe who have anti-EU policy agendas. They will be on the fringes of the Parliament. They will not have the allies or the influence to ensure Dublin benefits to the maximum possible extent from the EU funding opportunities that will be available to the region over the coming years."

"The policies of Sinn F€in and the Socialist Party will not bring one job or one euro of investment to Dublin. On the contrary, their election would send out the wrong message to foreign investors about support in our capital city for Europe and could cost Dublin jobs and investment," he claimed."

Elsewhere, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has called on disillusioned Fianna Fail voters to support Labour in Friday’s elections.

Speaking at the launch of the party's final phase posters for the Dublin South and Dublin Central Byelection campaigns, Mr Gilmore said that the Fianna Fáil of the past few years bore little relationship to the party of deValera or Lemass.

“Fianna Fáil voters have shown exceptional loyalty to the party over the decades, but the opinion polls suggest that, for the first time ever, many will not support Fianna Fáil on Friday. I understand why loyal Fianna Fáil voters will never switch to Fine Gael. However, the Labour Party offers a natural alternative to Fianna Fáil voters because Labour provides a clear alternative to both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael," he said.

“I would urge disillusioned Fianna Fail voters not to stay at home, but to come out and use their votes in a positive way. This will be the most effective way to convey their anger and disappointment to Brian Cowen," Mr Gilmore added.