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I don't want to win with just sympathy votes – FG's Helen

FINE Gael is prepared to "throw the kitchen sink" at Helen McEntee's by-election campaign.

The Government party is desperate to score an unlikely victory in the Meath East vote and has been planning their strategy for weeks already.

Already the daughter of tragic junior minister Shane McEntee was only officially selected as the candidate last night, plans to get her elected have been underway for weeks.



And Helen (26) has asked voters to look beyond the McEntee name.

"I am Shane and Kathleen McEntee's daughter and I will always be proud to hold the McEntee name," she told her party's selection convention last night.

"But I am asking that you look beyond this and see that I am a whole lot more and I can bring so much to this campaign."

Ms McEntee said that she wanted to take up the "challenge of a lifetime" in her father's honour.

"I am, of course, devastated by dad's death, but I have never wanted so much to fight for his legacy and to bring my voice to the table as a young woman living in Ireland and in Meath East," Ms McEntee said.

"There will always be an aspect of the sympathy vote in this election, people have shown such loyalty to dad and that is to be admired and every vote we get we will be grateful for.

"But we do not want to win votes on that basis alone, I want the opportunity to prove that I am worth every single vote because of how I'll work for the people of Meath East."

Sources said that the party is throwing its full weight behind the candidate.

"No resources will be spared. It is extremely rare for a party in government to win a by-election but it is very common for the son or daughter to retain their parent's seat," said a party source.

"There is a thinking that if Helen can win it could lead to an overall boost for Fine Gael in the polls.

"Staff have been set aside from the Fine Gael office and Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald is to dedicate a lot of time as direction of elections."

The Herald understands that the party is prepared to spend a substantial war chest on the campaign depending on how the opinion polls are going.