FG’s election campaign ‘failed’ in key areas, report finds

Fine Gael’s electoral strategy lacked vision, empathy and planning, survey claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD arrives at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD arrives at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Fine Gael’s general election campaign failed in a range of areas, including vision, empathy, planning, tactical positioning and communication, a report prepared for the party has found.

The recommendations from the report carried out by Marion Coy, the former head of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, are being presented to the Fine Gael parliamentary party at its think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Ms Coy has told party TDs and senators that campaign headquarters had a “fortress mentality” and that the party needs to “reassert connection to constitutional republicanism”.

In the report, Ms Coy lists nine recommendations, which have been distributed to TDs and senators.

One says: “Future electoral strategy and planning must be conducted in a more inclusive manner and take into account the failures in vision, empathy, planning, tactical positioning, communication, campaigning and responsiveness identified in the 2016 campaign.”

The report also includes the following recommendations:

- Fine Gael should define its future as a campaigning party, anchored in local communities and tackling clearly identified national issues,

- Fine Gael should build a strong network of connections at all levels of society and become more open to external influences,

- A structural organisation is required in order to create effective cohesion across all elements of the party. To achieve this reform a new steering group should be established and a director of policy appointed,

- Fine Gael’s administrative structure needs realignment with the proposed orientation and development of the party,

- Fine Gael’s research strategy and methodology should be completely overhauled,

- Fine Gael’s communication strategies need to be more open and diverse,

- Mobilisation of party membership must be effected through the development of issue-based campaigns and the broadening of the mechanism for party engagement, and

- A more cohesive, and organised, approach should be taken to the mobilisation of all elected representatives in pursuit of an annually-agreed work programme.

Discussion

Ms Coy’s report is one of two to be discussed by the parliamentary party on Monday.

The outline of another, from party TDs, will be presented by Dublin Bay South TD Kate O’Connell,

Neither report will be distributed in full at the meeting, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said both will be published once they have been considered by the Fine Gael executive council.