Eamon Gilmore: confident of significant increase in Dáil seats

The Labour Party is considering running two candidates in constituencies where it already has a sitting TD, in a move it hopes will capitalise on anti-government sentiment in any forthcoming general election.

Buoyed by its success in last June's local elections and recent opinion polls, the party is also examining the possibility of running two candidates in constituencies where it is not currently represented.

The party leadership is confident the strategy could lead to a significant increase in Dáil seats but there may be resistance among TDs concerned about the potential for it to split the party's vote.

The two-candidate strategy could also be interpreted by some as an attempt by the party to further distance itself from Fine Gael in the run-up to any general election.

By running more than one candidate in individual constituencies, the party would go head to head with Fine Gael to attract support from voters who are disillusioned with the government parties.

A spokesman for party leader Eamon Gilmore confirmed he had raised the prospect of running two candidates at recent meetings of Labour's parliamentary party and its national executive.

"The final decision on this, barring an early election, would have to be made nearer to the general election..." he said. "But there is a real prospect of a total collapse in the Fianna Fáil vote," he said.

"There may be cases where you look at the figures... and maybe say it wouldn't be possible, but certainly we would be looking at running two candidates in every constituency where we already have a sitting TD. And there might be other constituencies also."