Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has said that he believes next weekend’s Ard Fheis has the potential to be one of the most important in the history of the party, while Westport-based Cllr Margaret Adams has stated that she believes the party “are on the comeback trail”.
Next weekend approximately 3,000 people are expected to attend the two-day Ard Fheis conference in the RDS, Dublin 4. The party has described the conference as ‘a major milestone’ in the first phase of the reform and renewal of the party.
Twelve months after the most demoralising General Election in the 86-year history of the party Deputy Calleary has stated that he believes the upcoming Ard Fheis will be unique, and that progressive discussion and unprecedented engagement will take place.
Deputy Calleary has also defiantly claimed that Fianna Fáil are ready for the challenge of winning back the support of voters who turned to Fine Gael during the last General Election.
Speaking to The Mayo News about the Ard Fheis Cllr Margaret Adams said, “I think it will be a very important Ard Fheis. I think we’re on the comeback trail so to speak. I’d like to see the party progressing and I think the Ard Fheis will play an important part in this.”
She added, “There has been a lot of work done since we came in to opposition. There has been a lot of work done in relation to the workings of the organisation and policy as well. The renewal of Fianna Fáil in our own area has also been very good, and it’s particularly encouraging to see so many new members joining.”
One of the new representatives who performed admirably in the last General Election was Lisa Chambers. Ms Chambers has been nominated for one of the five positions of Leas Uachtaráin (Vice Presidents). Cllr Adams said the party’s Area Representative for Castlebar is very ambitious and very eager to progress her political career with Fianna Fáil.
There are two more Mayo nominations as Deputy Dara Calleary is nominated for the role of Honorary Secretary, while Cllr Damien Ryan is vying to be included on the Fianna Fáil Committee of Twenty.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Dara Calleary has seen his stock rise significantly within the party in recent years, and he is now seen as one of the most promising and influential representatives within the party.
Yesterday Deputy Calleary confirmed that a complaint had been made to RTÉ over the broadcaster’s coverage of the Opposition. Party members were said to be particularly scathing of current affairs show Prime Time in their complaint.
Meanwhile Cllr Adams was keen to downplay the significance of a new opinion poll which suggests that Sinn Féin are gaining support at the expense of Fianna Fáil.
In the Behaviour and Attitudes poll which was published in the Sunday Times newspaper the results indicated that Fianna Fáil’s support was at just 16 per cent, nine points behind Sinn Féin on 25 per cent.
Responding to the poll Cllr Adams said, “Most of the journalists in Dublin tend to put [Sinn Féin] first instead of going for a Fianna Fáil spokesperson. I don’t always believe the results of polls. I think we will pick up and pull away from Sinn Féin in the long run.”
Cllr Adams concluded by emphasising what she described as a lack of substance in the Sinn Féin message. “I think when people really look at them and see what it is they’re all about they will look elsewhere.”
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