Final countdown to election

THERE’S now just a couple of days left to General Election, or GE 11 as they’re calling it on Twitter these days.

THERE’S now just a couple of days left to General Election, or GE 11 as they’re calling it on Twitter these days.

It’s set to be one of the most transforming on the political landscape for decades with the expected decimation of the Fianna Fail, a party which has dominated the political landscape for such a long time.

In fact there are secondary school students who have never known a time when Fianna Fail was not in Government.

And with two TDs in each of Kildare’s two constituencies, they were easily the biggest party locally.

Despite Micheal Martin’s last ditch attempt to muster support during his walkabout Naas on Monday, the party is realistic enough to know that that intervention is unlikely to achieve anything other than giving a little more security to the possibility of at least one TD from the party returning to the Dail.

Both Fine Gael and Labour are running second candidates in the Kildare North constituency, and, along with independent Catherine Murphy, could potentially prosper at the demise of the Fianna Fail representatives.

In the southern constituency, Labour and Fine Gael are being more conservative, apparently happy to hold what they have, in the case of Labour, or regain a seat held by the party and lost almost a decade ago, in the case of Fine Gael.

With the polls the way they are it would be something of a major shock if Fine Gael did not benefit at the expense of one of the sitting Fianna Fail TDs.

What’s also interesting is that in both constituencies, Fianna Fail have abandoned the notion of the vote management – which worked to such extraordinary effect at the last election. For instance in the Kildare South constituency, Sean O Fearghaill and Sean Power were separated by less than half of 1 percent.

This time around it appears to be every man (or woman) for themselves as Sean Power was spotted canvassing in Athy and Aine Brady in Naas.

And although it’s denied by all involved, it’s an open secret that this has lead to some bad internal party feelings.

Both constituencies have their fair share of Independent candidates – the most prominent being Catherine Murphy in the North and Paddy Kennedy in the South.

Ms Murphy has already held a Dail seat and was very unlucky to lose out the last time around, while Mr Kennedy is a first time general election candidate and the ever popular Mayor of Newbridge.

With 12 candidates, many of whom are expected to do quite well, and four seats, North Kildare is likely to be a more fascinating count on Saturday (and probably Sunday).

South Kildare has three seats to fill and only eight candidates, with an even smaller number of them with any realistic chance of getting elected.

Key indicators of which way it will go – Paddy Kennedy (Ind) vs Sean Power (FF) in the greater Newbridge Area, and the success or otherwise of Aine Brady (FF), Anthony Lalor (FG) and John McGinley (Lab).

The count starts at 9am in Punchestown on Saturday morning.

We can’t wait!