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Gone, gone, gone; Labour faces poll wipeout with just eight TDs in Dail, warns expert Tanaiste plus ministers Kelly and O'Sullivan predicted to lose seats.

Byline: BLANAID MURPHY

LABOUR is facing a wipeout in next month's General Election, one observer predicted yesterday.

Political analyst Noel Whelan said Tanaiste Joan Burton, Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan will lose their seats in the poll.

He added all of Labour's ministers except Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin will be voted out as the party faces the prospect of having just eight seats in the next Dail.

He based his complex analysis on the line-up of candidates, geography, retirements and past by-election results. The number cruncher explained: "Geography matters so much and the retirements make a big impact.

"It's like a Rubik's Cube - if one party is up the other is down.

"My view is Fine Gael are heading towards 60 seats. Surprisingly, when you look at the constituencies, I think Fianna Fail could be in at about 35 seats.

"Sinn Fein could be in at about 24 seats and may get more. If they stay at 8% and 9% in the polls, Labour in my view are at eight seats.

"If the Labour's figures don't take off in the last week of the campaign then it is going to lose a dramatic number of TDs.

"If things go wrong for Labour during this campaign, which as of now they are, then that is going to have a big effect in Dublin West.

"When I look at the line-up of opponents I say it's very difficult to see Joan Burton come out of it and she won't thank me for saying that."

The author of The Tallyman's Campaign Handbook also believes Mr Kelly will be hammered in the polls and will lose his seat in Tipperary North.

He added: "I laid down the challenge Mr Kelly faces already because of the redraw.

"Alex White has had his territory split and he has jumped part of it into Rathdown which is highly competitive with Alan Shatter and Shane Ross.

"There have been two by-elections in Dublin West since the last General Election, that itself will have discommoded the Labour party. Jan O'Sullivan is also in significant difficulty in Limerick."

Speaking to the Sean O'Rourke show on RTE yesterday, Mr Whelan also admitted his analysis is not a "certain science".

He said: "We're not psychics. Psephologists are closer to meteorologists than anything else."

But a Labour spokesman said Mr Whelan's forecasts are way off the mark.

He added: "His predictions represent one point of view from one person.

"They are widely out of kilter with other predictions that have come from very reputable sources in recent times.

"Our own internal polls would have far in excess of eight.

"While Noel Whelan has a track record, on this particular instance I would strongly suggest that predictions are well out of line."

news@irishmirror.ie

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 19, 2016
Words:466
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