Friday 30 September 2016

Louth

Fine Gael (2), Sinn Fein (2), Labour (1).

Published 18/01/2016 | 15:22

All eyes will be on Business and Employment Junior Minister Ged Nash in this constituency with many in Labour believing a successful campaign will mean the first-time TD is destined for elevated status with the party.

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It is expected locally that Mr Nash will secure a seat thanks to his ground work and national profile on issues such as the increase in the minimum wage.

However, the Drogheda based TD may need the votes of his Dundalk running mate Mary Moran to see him over the line.

Another first-time TD, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, is expected to top the poll.

Mr Adams had the constituency to himself in his first outing after long-time Louth TD Arthur Morgan stepped aside.

After he landed more than a thousand votes above the quota last time round, it was decided Mr Adams should have a running mate in Imelda Munster.

With support rising for Sinn Féin nationally it is expected both candidates will be elected in the border constituency.

Fine Gael is expected to secure at least one of the five seats with Fergus O’Dowd hoping for a fourth consecutive successful Dáil campaign.

Mr O’Dowd, a former junior minister in the Department of the Environment, has been a vocal opponent of the operation of Irish Water since he was demoted.

Sitting Fine Gael TD and former Louth County football manager Peter Fitzpatrick was eventually convinced to run by Taoiseach Enda after initially saying he was quitting national politics.

Mr Fitzpatrick recently wrote to Fine Gael members appealing for their votes ahead of Mr O’Dowd’s as he believes his colleague is assured of a seat.

This did not go down well with the O’Dowd camp where it is believed the former minister still faces challenge despite securing a quota on the first count in 2011.

The final seat in the constituency is up for grabs with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or possibly an Independent in the running.

Fianna Fáil’s best chance for a seat is Louth County Councillor Declan Breathnach who may be helped over the line with votes from his running mate Emma Coffey.

Independent Alliance candidates Kevin Callan and Maeve Yore are expected to poll well.

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