Dublin Mid-West: 'Politically promiscuous' Keating aims for FG double
IN a constituency once dominated by three government representatives, with just one opposition voice, Fine Gael hopes Derek Keating can now take it from zero to two seats.
The constituency announced the country's first elected TD in 2007, with Fianna Fail's John Curran elected to the 30th Dail at 2pm on the day of the count.
The Green Party's Paul Gogarty, the Progressive Democrats' Mary Harney and Labour's Joanna Tuffy all followed. This time out Senator Frances Fitzgerald and full-time councillor Derek Keating aim to score a double victory, on the back of a Fine Gael surge in popularity levels.
Their task is made easier by the retirement of Mary Harney, many of whose votes should transfer to Fine Gael.
The vulnerable Fianna Fail and Green Party seats are also being targeted.
Mr Keating is not of traditional Fine Gael stock -- Mr Gogarty labelled him "politically promiscuous".
The community worker has been active in Dublin mid-west for 30 years, 12 of them as an Independent councillor until he joined Fine Gael in August 2008.
But prior to life as an Independent, Mr Keating was a branch member of the Progressive Democrats and even before that had joined Fianna Fail.
In the 2009 local elections, he commanded the fifth highest return in the country to take 4,146 votes.
Squeezed out by Labour in 2007, Ms Fitzgerald is now a serious contender for a seat, with Mr Keating bidding for a second.
"We don't have a vote management strategy. It's not like that at all," says Mr Keating.
"I believe we have a wonderful chance of winning that second seat and that's what I'm targeting."
The issues are national, the fears and anxieties of voters all so similar, he says.
Last Sunday evening, an angry 30-something professional approached Mr Keating outside a local church.
"And he said to me, 'I'm going into this church for the last time because next Saturday afternoon I have to leave my home, I have to leave my wife and I have to go to Abu Dhabi for a year. I want you to know that.'"
The candidate describes this as a "typical'' encounter.
Fianna Fail's sole candidate, former chief whip John Curran, is thought to be safe but won't be repeating his poll-topping performance.
Labour's Joanna Tuffy and Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald are also deemed safe bets, leaving the fourth seat between Sinn Fein's Eoin O'Broin, People Before Profit's Gino Kenny, Labour's second candidate Robert Dowds and Fine Gael's second candidate Mr Keating.
Unlike last time out, Dublin mid-west is a now more unpredictable and is set to return new faces to the Dail.
John Curran TD
Frances Fitzgerald (Senator)
Derek Keating (councillor)
Joanna Tuffy TD
Robert Dowds (councillor)
Eoin O Broin
Paul Gogarty TD
Gino Kenny (councillor)
Last time out
FF’s John Curran got elected on the first count and became the first declared elected representative in the country.
The Green Party’s Paul Gogarty and PDs’ Mary Harney secured their seats.
FG’s Frances Fitzgerald was squeezed out with the extra seat going to Labour’s Joanna Tuffy.
VOTERS PER TD 16,115