As Limerick people went to the polls this Friday, two Fianna Fail TDs were in a desperate scramble for votes in a bid to reach the 31st Dail – with Willie O’Dea accusing his running mate of employing “dishonest” tactics to receive number one votes.
In what is regarded as the worst kept secret in local politics, Peter Power’s and Willie O’Dea’s competitive relationship finally showed its true colours less than 24 hours before the polls opened this Friday morning.
Minister Power, whose seat is widely believed to be under threat, took out a front-page advert in both the County and City editions of the Limerick Leader.
Emblazoned with the party’s logo across the top, it urges the electorate to vote number one for him and number two for Willie O’Dea.
The layout of the advert would appear to advocate the party’s national standpoint on how best to secure the maximum number of seats in the redrawn Limerick constituency. However, the advert does not inform readers that it was taken out by Mr Power – not the party.
Deputy O’Dea has described the advert from his ‘running mate’ as “an amateurish, childish, and dishonest attempt to mislead the electorate” and issued a sharp warning: “It won’t work.”
“The person in question has been telling everyone that my vote is safe and to vote number one for him. If the polls are to be believed there’s less than one quota for the party here. I need all the number ones I can get,” said Deputy O’Dea.
When contacted about the advert, a spokesperson for Minister Power replied in a written statement, outlining their strategy from the outset. “From our canvassing on the doorsteps it is clear that Willie will be elected on the first count. If the Fianna Fail vote is balanced between Peter and Willie, Fianna Fáil will hold both seats. This has been our message since the beginning of the campaign and we ask that Fianna Fáil voters vote strategically to secure our two seats,” he stated.
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