Will Frank hit the right notes in Election 2007?

  He was quite a hit on RTE’s Celebrity You’re A Star some months ago but the question on many people’s lips now is whether Fine Gael’s crooning Senator will be singing with joy from the rooftops after May 24th or instead singing the blues when he reflects on Election 2007.   Senator Frank Feighan is to some extent the great unknown amidst the ‘big players’ lining out for the established parties in the General Election.   True, Feighan is a Senate member and a proven poll-topper in a local election, and of course no-one will be remotely surprised if he polls well and many feel he can actually win a seat, but just how well the affable Feighan is likely to poll remains to be seen.   It may seem like Feighan has been around for quite a while on the political landscape but it is after all his very first outing in a General Election. Many people expect Feighan to amass a huge vote in Boyle, particularly as Fianna Fail opted not to run a North Roscommon-based candidate. Whether Leitrim-based John Ellis (or others) has something to say about that mooted dominance of Boyle by Feighan remains to be seen. What will also be fascinating is the extent to which Feighan can attract votes outside of a North Roscommon/South Leitrim base.   Feighan was in relaxed mood when he spoke to the Roscommon People this week. We caught up with him while he was canvassing in the Ballaghaderreen area.   Feighan quickly reported that his campaign is going very well.   ‘The organisation has been waiting a long time for the election to be called and we have been off the blocks quickly’ a determined Senator Feighan told the People. ‘I had about twenty people (working) in my office in Boyle this morning’ added the politician who also has offices in Ballinamore, Ballaghaderreen and Castlerea.   Feighan claims that the electorate are demanding change on the proverbial doorsteps.   He says Fine Gael are ready for Government and the benefits for Roscommon of a change of administration are clear to him – the West of Ireland will have a West of Ireland Taoiseach and Roscommon will have a Minister.   He says North Roscommon has been denied political representation for a long time and he can fill that void.   ‘If elected I will be the voice for North Roscommon. If I get the second seat for Fine Gael I will take great pleasure in a Minister from the constituency being appointed in the guise of Denis Naughten and more importantly a first-ever West of Ireland Taoiseach in Enda Kenny.’   A recent opinion poll placed his party colleague Denis Naughten on a 27% first preference share of the vote and prompts me to ask if Feighan believes Fine Gael will have the vote management strategy in place to give the party the edge in that battle for the third seat.   ‘Well, we face a challenge, we need to vote-manage. People in my area need to vote for Frank Feighan