Gloves off as Labour and Fine Gael battle for voters on the internet

THEY may be prospective coalition partners, but, for now, the gloves remain off and Fine Gael and Labour are fighting their very own web war.

The parties are using the Google search engine to poach each other’s voters.

Type the words “Fine Gael” into a Google search, and the first advert displayed on the search results page is for Labour.

“Fed up with Fine Gael?” the advert asks. “Labour is ready to lead. Let’s build a better fairer Ireland.”

The advert carries a link to the Labour website.

Fine Gael is operating an almost identical, but slightly less aggressive, campaign.

Type the word “Labour” into a Google search, and the first advert displayed on the results page is for Fine Gael.

This advert reads: “Fine Gael: The only party with clear, workable policies on health, jobs and economy” and similarly carries a link to the Fine Gael website.

A Fine Gael spokesman said its ads were a “follow-on” to party efforts to sell its economic, health and political reform policies.

The tone of its campaign was dictated by the party’s determination “to sell our policies and ideas in their own right”, he added.

“Fine Gael have invested heavily in developing policies and plans that can transform our country and get our people back to work. We are confident that these plans and policies will compare favourably to any other party’s, if and when they are produced.”

A Labour spokesman said such ads were a regular feature of the political process.

“They are designed to target internet users with an interest in politics,” he said. “We are happy with the response and I expect that we will continue to use this form of advertising from time to time between now and the general election.”

Interestingly, while both parties are vying for each other’s supporters, only Labour appears to have attempted to target Fianna Fáil voters this way.

Type the words “Fianna Fáil” into a Google search and it returns another Labour advert asking: “Fed up with Fianna Fáil? Labour is ready to govern.”

Such a search does not produce any Fine Gael adverts targeting Fianna Fáil.

The adverts were highlighted by a contributor to the website.


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