If you want to know how difficult it is to get a new political party off the ground, just ask Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín. The most recent round of opinion polls put Aontú somewhere around 3-4% of the vote: If replicated in an election, it would be an astonishingly good result, but would still likely leave more than five years of blood, sweat, and tears being rewarded with two to four seats on a good day, making the party at best a bit-part player in the next Dáil. And on a bad day, it’s not inconceivable that support at that level gets you no seats at all. Nothing is certain, when it comes to elections. The difference between a great day and a terrible day can be a few hundred votes in three or four constituencies.
Building political parties up from nothing is an almost impossible job. What isn’t really appreciated is that it is even more difficult in Ireland, due to the nature of our political system.
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