Fine Gael’s performance in elections

 

Sir, – We are writing to challenge your recent assessment, in your editorial of May 27th, of Fine Gael’s performance in the local and European Elections as a “poor showing” – something that is simply not borne out by the results.

In the European elections, Fine Gael significantly increased our share of the vote, with the party claiming almost 30 per cent of first preference votes nationally. This vote was an increase of 7.3 per cent on the 2014 European elections, while Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and Solidarity PBP all lost votes during the same period.

This has translated into four Fine Gael candidates being elected to the European Parliament, including two poll-toppers, Mairead McGuinness in Midlands North-West and Sean Kelly in Ireland South. Frances Fitzgerald and first-time candidate Maria Walsh also took seats, while Deirdre Clune is also poised to take a seat in Ireland South when the recount concludes.

This is a resounding endorsement of Fine Gael’s track record in Europe and on Brexit. The election was rightly billed here and across the continent as the most important European election of a generation and Ireland needed to send its best team to the European Parliament.

Furthermore, in the local elections, Fine Gael has become the first government party in two decades to increase the number of seats held on local authorities nationwide.

The party has added 20 seats and now holds 255 seats around the country. In Dublin, the party has the most seats (36) across all four local authorities. Indeed, in two constituencies where Fine Gael has no TDs, the party now holds the most councillors – Tipperary (12) and Longford (9) – surely a sign of upturns in the party’s fortune.

In addition to bucking a trend that has plagued government parties previously, this election has also marked important progression for diverse politics. Fine Gael has returned four councillors from a migrant background and now has more female councillors (62) than any other party.

While an outside analysis of the election results is welcome and necessary, we would urge that the narrative takes into the round the performance of each of the parties.

Fine Gael has enjoyed a solid and positive election overall and will continue to work to respond to the messages communicated by the electorate. – Yours, etc,

REGINA DOHERTY TD,

Fine Gael Director

of European Elections;

JOHN PAUL

PHELAN TD,

Fine Gael Director

of Local Elections,

Leinster Hose,

Dublin 2.