Author of report on FG’s poor election to address think-in
But decision not to publish the report, ordered by Enda Kenny, is criticised by TDs
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny ordered the report which will be discussed at party think-in. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
The author of a report ordered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny into Fine Gael’s poor election performance will outline nine recommendations on how the party can improve at a pre-Dáil term gathering today.
However Marion Coy, the former president of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and chair of the Collins Institute, the think-tank linked to Fine Gael, will only provide an oral briefing to TDs and Senators.
One of Ms Coy’s key findings will focus on how the party conducted its research in the lead-up to the election to shape its message and platform.
The Fine Gael parliamentary party will also hear the recommendations of a second, separate report carried out by TDs into the election performance.
The findings of this report will be outlined by Dublin Bay South TD Kate O’Connell.
Neither report will be distributed at the parliamentary party think-in, which has been privately criticised by a number of TDs.
Ms Coy is understood to have been allocated 15 minutes to address TDs and Senators, with Ms O’Connell given 10 minutes.
There is disquiet in the party, however, over a decision by Mr Kenny and senior party officials not to distribute either report in full at today’s meeting.
Mr Kenny is understood to have been in receipt of both reports since earlier this month, with senior party figures considering how best to inform party members of their findings.
It was expected both reports would be published, or at least circulated within the party.
Party sources said the Fine Gael hierarchy is likely to argue that the executive council should also be briefed on its contents before it is distributed, with suggestions such briefings could be extended to failed election candidates.
It is understood the Fine Gael executive council will meet again later this month.
One of her nine findings will focus on the research carried out by the party. There has been internal chatter in Fine Gael about how the research was interpreted, with a focus on tax cuts and the “let’s keep the recovery going” slogan.
The party spent more than €200,000 of State funding on opinion polling and focus groups last year, in the run-up to February’s general election.
Fine Gael’s extensive use of focus groups to road test its policies and election slogans, such as the “keep the recovery going” phrase, widely seen to have been ill-judged, was criticised by some TDs in the aftermath of a poor election for the party.