Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.30 7 Feb 2020


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Political parties have been making their final pitches to voters ahead of tomorrow's general election.

A broadcast moratorium kicks in at 2pm - meaning candidates have only until early this afternoon to make their cases on TV and radio.

The constituencies of Donegal, Mayo and Galway West will see the first votes as around 2,000 islanders are eligible to cast a ballot today.

They include some larger islands as well as the likes of Inisfree off Donegal, where just four people are eligible to vote.

Legislation before the Oireachtas had proposed scrapping early voting on islands so those locals could vote on the same day as the rest of the country.

However, the proposals did not get through the Oireachtas before the Dáil was dissolved last month.

Final pitches

Meanwhile, campaign teams for all the political parties are making one final push for votes ahead of the national polls opening tomorrow morning at 7am.

Fine Gael's Richard Bruton, Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin and Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan appeared on this morning's Pat Kenny Show to make their respective parties' cases.

While acknowledging that voters want change, the Climate Minister Richard Bruton insisted his Government has "delivered real change" in areas such as education and jobs.

He added: "People are going to make a choice - we would say that the foundations we have put in [is leading us towards] seeing a changed Irish society.

"That careful planning and painstaking implementation is what delivers change, not hollow slogans."

Mr Ó Broin, meanwhile, argued: "What's been evident on the doors right throughout the campaign... [is] an incredible desire among working people and families for change in a number of key areas - in healthcare, childcare, housing, transport and community safety.

"[But there's] also a real dissatisfaction among a growing section of the electorate on the failure of the confidence and supply agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to meet people's basic social and economic needs."

Jim O'Callaghan claimed that policies relating to housing are "front and centre" of Fianna Fáil's manifesto.

He said: "We were told back in 2016 by Fine Gael that this [housing crisis] was going to be resolved - it hasn't been resolved.

"People want to see much more state intervention in the construction of social and affordable housing, and they also want to see more state intervention in terms of facilitating and encouraging private housing - and we haven't got that."

Main image: Eoin Ó Broin and Richard Bruton.

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