DANNY Healy-Rae is tonight fighting for his political life and could be in real danger of losing his Dáil seat when Kerry voters go to the polls next Saturday.
That’s the astonishing finding of a TG4 Ipsos/MRBI poll, the results which came to light this evening.
It has him languishing at just four per cent of the first preference vote and that would most likely see him in deep trouble. It will also serve to rally his supporters, however, and they will now send out a clear message that he needs every vote he can get if he is to continue walking along the corridors of power.
In another surprise, the poll has Sinn Fein’s Cllr Pa Daly heading the race in Kerry right alongside sitting Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae – the country’s biggest vote winner last time out – with both given a 20 per cent share of the first preference vote.
Fine Gael Junior Minister Brendan Griffin is on 17 per cent which, if it pans out, would seen him safely back in the Dáil while Cllr Norma Foley from Tralee is the frontrunner for Fianna Fail with a 10 per cent share.
Her Fianna Fail colleague, outgoing TD John Brassil, is on nine per cent but, perhaps surprisingly, so too is Green Party hopeful Cleo Murphy who is right up there in contention for a seat, according to the poll.
Fine Gael’s Cllr Mike Kennelly, from Listowel, is at six per cent in the poll, Fianna Fail’s Cllr Norma Moriarty is on four per cent, Aontú’s Sonny Foran is on two per cent, Independent Ted Cronin is on one per cent while Irish Freedom Party candidate John Bowler and Independent Seán O’Leary do not feature.
But perhaps the biggest shock of all is that Danny Healy-Rae is on just four per cent and, if that reading is even remotely accurate, he will face a massive uphill struggled to retain his seat.
Healy-Rae, of course, will expect to benefit hugely from transfers from his younger brother given that they had whopping 30,000 votes between them in the last general election, with Michael accounting for two thirds of those.
What will cause concern for the Kilgarvan political dynasty, however, is the TG4 poll suggests a six per cent drop in support for Michael and a nine per cent drop in those backing Danny.
By contrast, the Fianna Fail share is up seven per cent and Fine Gael is up two per cent, the poll suggests.
The Kerry poll is more or less in keeping with national trends with a big surge in support for Sinn Fein and, on these figures, Cllr Pa Daly will very comfortably fill the seat being vacated by his long-serving party colleague Martin Ferris and he could even top the poll.
Fianna Fail are still in with a shout of two seats and Cllr Mike Kennelly will be hoping that Brendan Griffin’s first preference and favourable transfers can give him a boost in the polls.
The TG4 poll was conducted among a sample of 538 adults in the Kerry constituency on Saturday and Sunday last with a margin of error of four per cent.
Ipsos/MRBI TG4 POLL
- Michael Healy-Rae (Ind) 20%
- Pa Daly (SF) 20%
- Brendan Griffin (FG) 17%
- Norma Foley (FF) 10%
- John Brassil (FF) 9%
- Cleo Murphy (GP) 9%
- Mike Kennelly (FG) 6%
- Norma Moriarty (FF) 4%
- Danny Healy-Rae (Ind) 4%
- Sonny Foran (Aontú) 2%
- Ted Cronin (Ind) 1%
- John Bowler (IFP) 0%
- Sean O’Leary (Ind) 0%
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