FOLLOWING weeks of canvassing, former Fianna Fail Government Minister Willie O’Dea conceded that Michael Noonan would top the poll in next week’s general election and predicted that if there is to be a shock, it could be that Joe Leddin might snatch the Labour seat from sitting TD Jan O’Sullivan.
“We are getting a good bit on Joe Leddin on the door steps and if there is a surprise it could be here,” he said.
Deputy O’Dea that it was “unlikely” that that Fianna Fail would hold their two seats in the city and also predicted that Michael Noonan would top the poll. “It won’t be me topping the poll – my personal voting is standing up but the party vote is down and too low for me,” he said via mobile phone while out on canvass.
“Michael Noonan is being tipped as the next Minister for Finance and I think that he will top the poll,” added Deputy O’Dea, who got over 19,000 votes last time in Limerick East. But the constituency has changed dramatically to a four seater and Deputy O’Dea is loosing 4,500 voters who helped him top the poll last time.
But Labour director of elections Joe Kemmy, brother of the legendary Jim, who is in charge of his 10th general election, totally discounted Deputy O’Dea’s remarks, though he agreed that Michael Noonan will top the poll. “I think he is saying this because Fianna Fail are imploding. There has been a dramatic change in attitude on the doorsteps in the past number of days and I think Labour have a good chance of taking two seats,” he said.
“There is no Fianna Fail seat safe in the country ... and I am including Willie O’Dea, who could find himself fighting for the last seat,” he added. He said that he was with Jan O’Sullivan on canvass in Raheen on Wednesday night and she got an unbelievable response. “Fianna Fail are in huge trouble. People are disgusted with the shady deals and there carry on in government. None of the media, television, radio or newspapers have highlighted the fact that since 1937 this is the first time that Fianna Fail have not contested an election to go into government on their own. They have thrown in the towel and are not running enough candidates to form a government.”
Deputy O’Dea admitted it was very unlikely that Fianna Fail would hold their two seats. “I think that the Fianna Fail vote will be well down and it is hard to see us winning the two seats, it is unlikely. It looks like Kieran O’Donnell will take the last seat.”
When contacted this morning a spokesman for Michael Noonan, dismissed, Deputy O’Dea’s suggesting that the Fine Gael man will top the poll. “There has been no change in our position as we told you before we think Willie is very strong on the doorsteps and will top the poll.”
Bookies rarely get it wrong and Paddy Power and Ladbrookes have Willie O Dea, Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan money on to get elected. Willie is 1/50 with Ladbrookes and 1/40 with Paddy Power; Noonan 1/25 and 1/33 and Jan O’Sullivan 1/12 with both. Peter Power is out to 6/1 to hold his seat and Kevin Kiely, a late entrant is on 7/1. The bookies unfortunately have no betting on who will top the poll.
Neil Madigan with Ladbrookes in Limerick said that again this week the only significant money was Kieran o Donnell to take the last seat. He has moved from 4/5 to 4/7 with them and he is even lower with Paddy Power and is on 2/5.
And if you want to get really confused what about this offical prediction from former mayor and candidate, Cllr Kevin Kiely who has been expelled from Fine Gael after he decided to run as an independent...”Michael Noonan to top the poll, to be followed by Maurice Quinlivan, Kevin kiely and Joe Leddin.”Now what would the odds be on that?
It is also significant that Joe Leddin is low in the betting on 6/5 with Ladbrookes and 13/8 with Powers to win a seat. However making a quick check this Thursday with the other political parties and they feel that it would be as Fine Gael canvasser put it “a major surprise if Joe Leddin upset Jan. I can’t see that,” he said.