Fianna Fáil is facing “an absolute hammering” in the forthcoming General Election according to Cork East TD Ned O’Keeffe, as new poll numbers showed a plunge in support.
The first poll taken since the €6bn Budget shows Fianna Fáil on a record low of 17%, which is a 25% drop since the last election in 2007.
If the numbers were to prove accurate in the General Election, which is expected in the next three months, Fianna Fáil would be left with about 30 TDs, a loss of almost 50 seats.
O’Keeffe said Fianna Fáil had to face up to the possibility of a wipe out.
He laid the blame squarely at the hands of Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan rather than Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
“We are going to take an absolute hammering.
“It is all down to Brian Lenihan who has been the worst Minister for Finance since Ernest Blythe in 1923.
“He has been an absolute disaster for this country and has destroyed the party’s chances.
“I have no hope of being re-elected in Cork East. Michael Ahern will not fare much better — Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin are in a much better position.
“Tom Barry (FG County Councillor running for the Dáil) is the man I would like to see go to the Dáil, if I am not elected. He is an intelligent man with a bit of flair and imagination. He knows business and agriculture and that is what we need.”
Cllr Barry gave a cautious welcome toO’Keeffe’s endorsement.
“Ned and I have similar backgrounds and I can understand traditional Fianna Fáil voters looking for an alternative. Ned has been magnanimous enough to point that out,” he said.
Satisfaction with the Government is down to just 8% in the IPSOS MRBI opinion poll, while Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s support is down to 14%.
Fine Gael was up 6% to 30%, while Labour fell by 8% to 25%.
The Green Party is unchanged at 2%.
Sinn Féin has almost doubled its support by moving up 7% to 15%. Independents and others are up 2% to 11%.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s approval is down 2% to 23% and Labour’s Eamon Gilmore is down 5% to 44%.
The poll was carried out on Monday and Tuesday of this week among 1,000 voters nationwide.