Kenny makes last-ditch call for vote in favour of stability

Fianna Fáil accuses Coalition parties of running ‘fear and smear’ campaign

The Dublin County Returning Office Election Warehouse in West Dublin is home to 707 ballot boxes, thousands of elastic bands, pencils, staplers, ballot sheets, padlocks, balls of twine and more. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made a last-minute appeal to voters to return Fine Gael and Labour to power to ensure continuing political stability.

However, Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen accused the Government parties of running a campaign of “fear and smear”.

Mr Kenny said the choice to the electorate was clear and the two Coalition parties were the only ones with a track record and credibility. Speaking to The Irish Times, he said: “I understand that people are hurting and people are angry as a result of everything they have had to endure since the crash.

“I urge people to make a hard-headed decision in favour of recovery and progress and elect the only government that has the credibility and the track record to keep the recovery going and bring it into every home.” Mr Kenny said voters would have the opportunity tomorrow to re-elect a stable government of two parties which had a proven record over the past five years.

Income tax

“Then there are the various Independents and smaller parties who have no record of agreeing on anything let alone forming a government and implementing a plan to grow the economy,” said the Taoiseach.

<b>Poll of polls </b>GE2016 campaign

Fine Gael director of elections Brian Hayes urged his party members to make a final push over the next 48 hours to get the Fine Gael vote over 30 per cent. The party has adopted vote-management strategies in a number of constituencies, with leaflets asking Fine Gael supporters to vote number one for weaker candidates to deliver a second seat.

At her final press conference, Tánaiste Joan Burton emphasised Labour’s progressive policies and warned voters Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil might strike an arrangement after the election if the Coalition was not returned.

Certain smugness

Speaking at the party’s final press conference in Dublin, Mr Cowen said Fianna Fáil was presenting itself as an alternative government.

“It’s been about learning from the past, understanding the present situation that the country is faced with and planning for the future with real and constructive alternatives,” the Offaly TD said.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams insisted this would be a big election for his party, building on what he described as the “breakthrough” election in 2011. At the Green Party’s final press conference, leader Eamon Ryan said his “biggest fear is that the Irish people will not be inspired to go out and vote” after the campaign.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, which has a target of seven seats, predicted the demise of Labour, while the Independent Alliance’s Shane Ross said he would not make any red-line demands on local issues before entering coalition.

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton said her party was here to stay.