Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has said we are now entering a critical period of Election 2016 as a lot of people will make up their minds on who to vote for by next Tuesday.

She was speaking to the media at a launch of the party’s policy on the self employed and small businesses this afternoon, writes Conor McMorrow of RTÉ's political staff.

The Dublin Bay South candidate predicted: “Whatever way you look at it, the current government is not going to be returned.”

The strategy for the last ten days of campaign is “to bang a drum about Renua Ireland’s key priorities and key policies”. 

She said that last night’s RTÉ debate was “was a great opportunity” for the smaller parties. 

“It’s hard for the smaller parties. We don’t get any funding and we have no money for advertising or anything like that,” she said.

“We can’t have the big billboards that the other parties might have. We are doing it on a shoestring.”

There is a consensus that the smaller parties did best last night. Asked if the debate has the ability to impact significantly on the campaign, she said: “I hope that it will have helped people to start making up their minds.”

She agreed that the election has been flat and said “people are hugely disengaged and lacking in inspiration from this campaign. 

“I think the debate was a civilised debate. Nobody was shouting or roaring and there were some really good policy discussions.

“People found it engaging and positive. I suppose it is interesting for people to hear from the other parties. A lot of people would not have known a whole lot about what Renua is about before last night.”

So we now enter a “critical” phase of Election 2016. She added: “Up until Sunday and Monday is a really critical period of the campaign. A lot of people will have made up their minds by next Tuesday. Between now and the end of the weekend is going to be critical.

“I was happy that the debate went well from Renua’s point of view and we just have to build on that momentum.

“It’s very difficult to predict the outcome of this election but certainly we will have new voices in government after this election.  Whatever way you look at it the current government is not going to be returned.“

By Conor McMorrow of RTÉ's Political Staff