Saturday, May 25, 2019

Picture: RollingNews

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has branded the mayoral plebiscite in Cork city “a shambolic mess”.

Early tallies suggest that the public have not gotten behind the idea and that the plebiscite in Cork city is set to fall.

Voters in Waterford and Limerick City and county were also asked to vote on the matter yesterday.

Mr Martin said that there was not enough work done on the issue and that the public did not fully understand the role.

“It was shambolic. I am on the record on this,” he said.

“I think there was too much being asked in the one day. There was a lack of proactive presentation on the issues.

The whole issue was reduced to the mayoral salary and it became a no very quickly.

“I am annoyed; I believe in principle in a directly elected Lord Mayor but there should have been a white paper published, the detail has to be worked out, the reason and rationale.”

Mr Martin said that the government introduced the vote “just for optics.”

He also criticised the idea of holding the plebiscite and the divorce referendum on the same day as the local and European elections.

“They expect people in a sea of documentation to have an informed decision.

“They should have pulled back. It was a shambolic mess from the government.”

The Fianna Fáil leader said that the early signs from the local and European elections are broadly positive for the party.

“We will consolidate the gains that we made on the last election and could gain more,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the green surge, we could have some interesting results coming our way.

“For two years we have watched opinion polls say that Fine Gael are ten points ahead of Fianna Fáil; that has evaporated.

“I don’t know where the Sinn Féin vote is but they are having some challenges in certain areas.

“Everybody is impacted; we seem to be holding our own in terms of the local elections.”

Despite the party’s gains, though, Mr Martin said that he will continue to back the confidence and supply deal with Fine Gael.

“That’s not how I see the local elections,” he said.

“People vote differently in a local election or a European election. I would never use the local elections as a moment to decide.”

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