Can Labour secure enough seats to stay in government?

Newstalk's Election Correspondent Odran Flynn joined The Sunday Show to talk about whether or not Labour can exceed expectations in the general election

Labour, General Eleciton, national conference,

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Rolling News

At their national conference in Mullingar on Saturday, there was a mood of confidence about the Labour party despite the predictions that they are set to be decimated in the upcoming general election. 

Speaking to the media, both Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and Environment Minister Alan Kelly were clear that the candidates running are all capable of winning their seats. 

"We’ve 36 candidates, our ambition is to have 36 seats", Howlin stated at the conference, while Kelly highlighted that "you can quote opinion polls and all of that – we have our own work done – but our candidates are not just incredible candidates, but they’re candidates who have performed in their own communities". 

Newstalk's Election Correspondent Odran Flynn appeared on The Sunday Show with Shane Coleman to discuss the possibility that Labour might perform better than people have and the latest poll that shows that Labour have gone up and now have 10% support. 

While Flynn highlighted that the polls have been static over the last few months, Labour will be buoyed by the recent rise, and that perhaps the predictions of disaster awaiting the party may be wide of the mark. 

Image: Rollingnews

"People have been writing them off, you've had commentators making predictions of zero seats to two seats," stated Flynn, but added "I think it needs to be put into some form of perspective. In the last 60 years, the lowest number of seats that Labour got in any election was 12, and that was in 1957 when they got 6.5%". 

Flynn further added that it's not inconceivable that Labour could get to 10%, the equivalent of 225,000 votes, assuming a similar turnout to the last election. 

"If you take Labour's worst ten [constituencies], which includes six that they're not even contesting this time, that gives them say 15,000 for those four, if you give another 5,000 for the next ten, that leaves 160,000 for 20 constituencies, which is an average of 8,000 per constituency.

"At the last general election, only one candidate who got 8,000 votes failed to get elected and that was Michael D'Arcy in Wexford, and he was beaten by Paul Keogh, his own party colleague. 

"If Labour come out with 10% I believe they will certainly get a minimum of 15 seats [...] If you put that alongside a potential 55 to 60 for Fine Gael then you're talking about, realistically, no more than a handful of independents or a smaller party to actually keep the current government in place". 

Flynn identified that there are four areas where Labour are in the most trouble; Dublin Central, Cork South West and Cork South Central, while he added that Ciara Conway of Waterford will also have "little chance".

However, Flynn added that if they're at 10%, there are probably 14 TDs that he would be "reasonably confident would hold their seats".

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