Fine Gael would lose up to 20 seats in election - Creighton

Former minister of state says party would suffer badly if contest was held immediately


Former minister of state Lucinda Creighton claimed on the opening night of the Fine Gael ardfheis that the party would lose as many as 20 of the 76 Dáil seats it won in 2011 if a general election were held immediately.

The dissident Fine Gael TD, now the leading figure in the Reform Alliance faction, was speaking at The Irish Times debate final at the Law Society in Dublin.

Thousands of Fine Gael activists were gathered at the same time in the RDS for the first session of the ardfheis, which continues today.

Ms Creighton, who lost the Fine Gael whip last year when she voted against abortion legislation, said both Coalition parties had lost popular support.

“Fine Gael would lose at least 20 seats if the election was held tomorrow, and the Labour Party face the proposition of losing 75 per cent of their seats at the next election, a seismic outcome for the oldest parliamentary party in the State,” she said in a speech.

“The Irish people are not stupid. The reason they no longer support either Government party to the same extent they did in 2011 is not because our economy has yet to recover, or because they are feeling the pinch of austerity.

“It’s because the preponderance of the Irish electorate voted in 2011 based on the policies and values that both these political parties promised, yet diluted once in office.”

Ms Creighton said the institutionalised loyalty of the whip system was seen in slavish adherence to the Government line in parliament and unquestioning acceptance of the superiority of others.

She also decried a willingness to “stay silent” in the face of poor policymaking and vested interests.