Wednesday 23 August 2017

Former poll-topper Tuffy in serious danger as Ó Broin to secure seat

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A potential future Taoiseach, a senior Sinn Féin strategist and two members of the infamous Fianna Fáil/Green Party government are among those who will battle it out in the four-seat Dublin Mid-West constituency.

Throw in a Labour Party TD who topped the poll last time round and you produce an intriguing electoral contest.

The two seats that can be safely called here will go to Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald and Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin, who is a member of South Dublin County Council.

Ó Broin, who is the partner of Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan, lost out on a seat in 2011 having polled over 5,000 first preference votes.

A former member of Belfast council, the highly able politician is often trotted out to defend the party when it is embroiled in controversy.

"This is an election unlike any other historically, the level of voter volatility and level of voter uncertainty is extraordinary.

"There is a quite a lot of anger and fear out there," he said.

Mr Ó Broin says Sinn Féin strategy here has partly focused on trying to target the "lower middle class vote", previously held by the Labour Party.

These tactics may well prove successful, and result in the junior coalition partner having no seats in a few days' time.

As the TD who topped the poll in 2011, one would have expected Labour TD Joanna Tuffy to retain her seat.

Her chances are enhanced as a result of the surprise decision of her party colleague Robert Dowds, a highly respected backbencher, to retire.

But with Labour failing to reverse its poor poll rating, Ms Tuffy's seat is at serious risk.

While her vote will come under attack from Mr Ó Broin's rise, it will also be ebbed away from the far left through Gino Kenny of AAA/PBP.

Mr Kenny is based in Clondalkin and is tapping into a significant level of voter disillusionment.

One politician set to suffer as a result of a disillusioned electorate is Fine Gael TD Derek Keating. With Ms Fitzgerald unlikely to sacrifice any of her vote to her Fine Gael colleague, Mr Keating's seat is under serious threat.

As the contest enters the business stages, Fianna Fáil will be in a hunt for a seat through former Government Chief Whip John Curran.

He is joined in the race by Paul Gogarty, the former Green Party TD who is running for the Independent Alliance and whose vote will prove interesting.

The Social Democrats are running Anne Marie McNally, a young mother who is the communications manager for the party.

PREDICTION: 1 Sinn Féin, 1 Fine Gael, 1 Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit, 1 Fianna Fáil

Dublin Mid-West

Candidates: 4 seats

FG Francis Fitzgerald TD, FG Derek Keating TD, LAB Joanna Tuffy TD, FF John Curran, SF Eoin O Broin, PBPA Gino Kelly, SD Anne Marie McNally, GP Tom Kivlehan, DDI Christopher Healy WP Loraine Hennessy, IA Paul Gogarty, IND Francis Timmons, IND Clare Leonard, IND Patrick Akpoveta, IND Haroon Khan

Irish Independent

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