McDaid: McDowell hurting FF campaign

Posted By: March 29, 2013

By Ann Cahill and Fionnán Sheahan
Irish Examiner . Com June 25, 2004

MICHAEL McDOWELL’S repeated attacks on Sinn Féin are damaging Fianna Fáil’s chances of taking two seats in the North-West constituency, said Junior Minister Jim McDaid.
The FF European election candidate’s criticism Mr McDowell comes as an Irish Examiner/Questions & Answers opinion poll shows SF’s Pearse Doherty has surprisingly emerged as a contender for one of the constituency’s MEP seats.
The European election in the constituency (comprising of nine counties in Connaught and Ulster, and Clare) is wide open with five candidates fighting for three seats, the poll conducted by Lansdowne Market Research shows.

Mr McDaid and his FF running mate, sitting MEP Seán Ó Neachtáin, Fine Gael’s Jim Higgins and Independent Marian Harkin remain the front runners.
Accusing Mr McDowell of whipping up controversy over Republicans to serve the interests of the Progressive Democrats, Mr McDaid said the public castigations of SF have not been helpful in the campaign.
“It militates against me,” he said, adding that he has always recognised the efforts of SF to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
Expressing the view that Mr Doherty has considerable support, particularly in the border counties, Mr McDaid said he believed that Mr McDowell’s statements against SF were related to the upcoming elections:
“He tends to get wired to the moon at election time. He tends to get into a media frenzy, noticeably on behalf of the PDs, and does not care that he is affecting his coalition partner.”
The poll also shows, that despite just over a third of voters satisfied with the Government’s performance, FF’s support in the constituency for the local elections has actually risen to 45%.
But there is bad news for FG leader Enda Kenny as it shows local election party support in his own backyard has dropped to 24%.
SF should make significant gains in the local elections as its support has almost trebled from 5% in 1999 to 14% and the Green Party and PDs standing is also improved.
Despite a guarantee of at least one European seat in the constituency, the rivalry between the two FF candidates escalated yesterday.
Minister for Community Affairs Éamon Ó Cuiv, who is acting as Mr Ó Neachtáin’s director of elections, accused Mr McDaid of negative campaigning.
The row over a pre-arranged constituency divide has become increasingly bitter in recent weeks with the turf war spreading from Roscommon into Mayo counties originally allocated to Mr Ó Neachtáin.
Defending the geographical split, Mr Ó Cuiv said he felt it was fair and the public was not interested in listening to squabbling.