Saturday 10 December 2016

White may be the most significant casualty of this election

Published 15/02/2016 | 02:30

Alex White meeting voters on Valentine’s Day in his constituency. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Alex White meeting voters on Valentine’s Day in his constituency. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

If Olivia Mitchell had been handed a place within the ministerial ranks, Fine Gael would be well on course to deliver two seats in this newly-configured constituency.

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But as is the case for many within the Fine Gael fold, her decision to oppose Enda Kenny during the infamous leadership heave of 2010 came with a price.

Mitchell has decided to step down at the election - making Fine Gael's task in Dublin-Rathdown more difficult.

But if Fine Gael is facing a tough task to secure two seats, the Labour Party's challenge is looking increasingly insurmountable.

Following the boundary changes, large pockets from the former Dublin South constituency were moved into neighbouring Dublin South West and Dún Laoghaire.

This has made life particularly difficult for Communications Minister Alex White, who is seen as a steady hand at Cabinet.

"People are still wary and a lot of people are wounded by what has happened, even though a lot of them are back on their feet," White admits.

With Labour languishing in the polls, White may prove to be the most significant single casualty of the election.

And he could be joined by the Independent TD Peter Mathews, who revealed last week that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

Fianna Fáil is desperate to make a comeback in Dublin and would be buoyed if it could win a seat in a constituency previously dominated by names such as Brennan and Kitt.

The party's candidate, Senator Mary White, appeals to female and middle-class voters and this may well prove to be her best opportunity at taking a Dáil seat.

With the first two seats set to be won by Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross and Fine Gael's Alan Shatter, a dogfight will take place for the final seat.

One of the candidates likely to be involved is Fine Gael councillor Josepha Madigan, who sparked controversy after producing a leaflet which claimed that building traveller accommodation in her area would be a "waste" of valuable resources.

The Green Party is fielding a highly able candidate in its deputy leader Catherine Martin, who was elected to the council in 2014.

Dublin Rathdown

Candidates:3 seats

FG Alan Shatter TD, FG Josepha Madigan, LAB Alex White TD, FF Mary White, SF Sorcha Nic Cormaic, PBPA Nicola Curry, IA Shane Ross TD, IA Peter Mathews TD, GP Catherine Martin.

PREDICTION: 1 IND/2 FG

Irish Independent

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