FINE Gael are certain to win one, if not two seats in Fingal, along with Deputy Clare Daly (Ind) and Fianna Fail in the upcoming General Election, according to broadcaster Vincent Browne.
Browne gave his forecast of the election to The Gazette ahead of TV3’s The People’s Debate, with Vincent Browne’s visit to Fingal, to be recorded on Monday, January 11.
He said: “Fine Gael will certainly get a seat, [Deputy] Clare Daly will certainly get a seat, Fianna Fail will certainly get a seat.
“I think that the other two seats are up for grabs. It could be a second Fine Gael seat, Labour could retain a seat there, Sinn Fein could get a seat, or Clare Daly might bring in a second person with her, so it’s going to be quite interesting.”
On January 11, there will be a live debate at The Grand Hotel, Malahide, where constituents of Fingal are invited to call TDs to account, querying them on what they are promising their constituents ahead of the election.
However, no Government TD will attend the debate, with all three sitting deputies declining the offer to appear on the show.
The debate is free and all are welcome to attend. Those interested in taking part in the debate are advised to arrive at The Grand Hotel by 7pm.
Speaking to The Gazette, Browne said he was looking forward to the debate as he believes Fingal was a very interesting constituency, and he hoped to see a good turnout of local people.
He said that, to date, the debates in the Dublin constituencies have not been as well attended as the debates elsewhere in the country, and he hopes to see a turnaround in Fingal.
He believes the election will almost certainly be held between February 26 and March 4, but there is always the possibility that this will not be the case.
So far, Deputy Daly is the only sitting TD to give a definite commitment to attend, but Deputy Brendan Ryan (Lab), Deputy Alan Farrell (FG) and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly (FG) declined the offer.
Speaking to The Gazette, Deputy Farrell said that while he has no problem debating the other candidates about the current issues in Fingal in a mediated forum, he does not wish to participate in The People’s Debate.
He said: “I want to have a debate between myself and the candidates, I don’t want to have a debate with Vincent Browne about stuff that happened eight years ago, I’m not interested and neither are the people.
“There is a cohort of people who watch his show that are interested, and that’s fine, but I’m not doing the show because I have no interest in having a debate with him about the bailout, or bond yields, or the ECB, or whatever it is that Vincent is always raising at these things.”
He said that in terms of giving constituents the opportunity to liaise with, or question him, he would much rather do that at their doorsteps.