Fine Gael candidates in all three European parliament constituencies last night said they would ask voters to give transfers to those running with the junior Coalition party.
The promise comes after bruising results for Labour in recent opinion polls and warnings that it could lose all its MEP seats and also face significant losses in the local elections.
Ireland South candidate and MEP Sean Kelly last night said he would ask voters to give Labour MEP Phil Prendergast support after his fellow Fine Gael candidates on the ballot paper. “I would ask them to support Phil,” said Mr Kelly. “She’s worked very hard since going out to Europe. To withstand the storm, it’s only logical to be loyal.”
Fellow party candidate and TD Simon Harris said he s was asking voters to transfer to Labour after the three Fine Gael candidates in Ireland South.
Earlier, Dublin candidate and junior finance minister Brian Hayes said he was telling voters to give Labour MEP Emer Costello their second vote.
He added: “We’ve got to be conscious of the issues Labour have. They’re our partners in government, they’ve been great partners. They’ve had to do a very difficult job with us in making difficult decisions.”
Midlands-North-West MEP Mairead McGuinness said she was asking voters to give their votes to Labour after Fine Gael.
Fine Gael candidates said no formal voting pact had been agreed, but that a decision on this may be made over the next week as canvassing picks up.
Despite the pledge by Fine Gael candidates, Labour party assistant director of elections Kevin Humphreys said the party’s European parliament candidates were not advising voters to give similar support to its Coalition partner at the ballot box. “As of the moment there’s no transfer deal,” said the Dublin South-East TD. “Our candidates won’t be transferring because we’ll be there to the end. It’s up to the electorate, but we’re not asking people.”