Fine Gael councillor Colm Murray believes that the party will have to “do some soul searching” following Saturday’s election. Speaking to longfordleader.ie , Cllr Murray said he believed that Peter Burke would take the final seat in the Longford Westmeath constituency but added that “it is going to get tight”.
As it stands the seventh count is underway as James Reynolds’ 1130 votes are being distributed. While the Longford candidates may expect to pick up some of his votes due to geography, it should also be noted that James Reynolds picked up 535 first preferences in Westmeath and this vote may stay in that part of the constituency.
Reflecting on Fine Gael’s performance in the general election, Cllr Murray said that the party had some work to do.
“ We have to go back now and do some soul searching, we need to look in the mirror and see where our messaging went wrong and mabe where some of our actions were deemed to be going wrong by the public and see where we are at in the public spectrum,” Cllr Murray said.
Speaking about his party’s handling of the farmers’ protests over beef prices, he acknowledged that things could have been handled better.
“There was a feeling that Minister Creed was up on a pedestal and didn't come down and talk to people on the ground and that did not go well with the farmers,” he said, adding that this wouldn’t necessarily have solved the problem but could have avoided a lot of anger on the ground.
Asked about the formation of the next government, Cllr Murray said that he believed a “ we will have a bit of a Lanigan’s Ball for a while” but that the only credible option in terms of numbers is Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein with a small number of independents. He added that he knew for a fact that the Fine Gael membership would not support going into government with Sinn Fein.