herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Back Independent Guerin, Fine Gael tells supporters

FINE GAEL has taken the unique step of officially endorsing an Independent candidate in a Dublin constituency.

With the party appearing to be on the verge of an overall or coalition government, director of elections Phil Hogan confirmed the significant move.

Enda Kenny has refused point blank to advise supporters nationally on which parties to transfer to, but he is backing Jimmy Guerin in Dublin North East.

The Independent candidate is a brother of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin and will be fighting against Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole for the final seat.

Preference

Fine Gael's own candidate, Terence Flanagan, should comfortably top the poll.

Mr Hogan told the Herald: "We are suggesting that voters give their second preference to Mr Guerin."

Mr Guerin has also confirmed to the Herald that he would be willing to support a Fine Gael-led government.

The Howth resident said he believes Fine Gael's policies are "realistic".

"I think they are aware of the problems. If I was in that position I would be in favour of supporting a Fine Gael administration.

"We need stability. It's not all about politics, this time, it's about providing stability," he said.

He also promised not to be an Independent who would "hold the government to ransom".

Mr Guerin polled well in the 2009 local elections picking up 8pc of first preference votes in his Howth-Malahide ward.

"There's no doubt it's easier running the second time.

"It looks like it's me and Larry O'Toole [of Sinn Fein] for the last one.

"Now I know that's dependent on transfers but I think we're in with a shout," he said.

He said that main issues for him are jobs, emigration and crime.

Some 15 years after his journalist sister was murdered, Mr Guerin said people still bring up her gangland death on the doorsteps.

"It does [come up] but I don't play on it. I've never mentioned it in my election literature or my website.

"The reality is that people are still sympathetic because drugs are such a huge issue.

"Her name is still very much to the fore. They've never forgotten what she did," he said.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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