Dublin North East: O'Toole hopes it's fifth time lucky
Published 21/02/2011 | 05:00
SINN Fein veteran Larry O'Toole spent 24 years working for Gateaux, where he developed a sweet tooth and met his wife.
He lost his job after production was shut down in the famous Finglas cake factory in 1990 -- and said he could recognise the frustration of those he saw queuing for dole payments now.
"The first time I walked into the Labour Exchange was the strangest feeling in my life. I had been working since I was 15," he said.
Mr O'Toole (64) is hoping to get a new job as a TD for Dublin North East in the Dail. It is his fifth attempt, having first run in the 1992 general election. He said he wanted to make a breakthrough in particular for "salt of the earth" people who had supported him over the years.
"I want to make a statement that a working-class person from a working-class area can also be in there representing people," he said.
The constituency is a mix of working-class areas such as Belcamp, Darndale and Coolock and better-off areas such as Howth, Sutton, Baldoyle and Raheny.
Mr O'Toole escaped death in 1998 when he was shot in the back during his granddaughter's communion ceremony -- the gunman was later jailed for 15 years. He said crime was not as big an issue in this election because gardai were now working with communities "rather than policing them from their motorcars".
The two candidates in the constituency with the safest seats are Labour's Tommy Broughan and Fine Gael's Terence Flanagan. Mr Broughan has been a combative performer locally and in the Dail, while Mr Flanagan used his role as housing spokesman to highlight problems in the constituency.
Fianna Fail lost a seat here in the last general election and its sitting TD Michael Woods has retired at the age of 75. His replacement is Averil Power -- who recently won her bout in a charity boxing tournament -- but is facing an even bigger fight to have any chance of keeping her party's seat.
Labour is hoping to get a second seat through councillor Sean Kenny who has previous experience in the Dail, having been elected in the 1992 'Spring Tide', and will be hoping for some form of 'Gilmore Gale' to bring him back.
There are some colourful Independent candidates such as Jimmy Guerin (brother of murdered 'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin) and Eamonn Blaney, the son of former Fianna Fail minister Neil Blaney. But it's likely to be a straight, albeit nail-biting, battle between Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Labour's Mr Kenny for the last seat.
Terence Flanagan TD
Tommy Broughan TD
Cllr Sean Kenny
Cllr Larry O’Toole
LAST TIME OUT
- Former Fianna Fail Education Minister Michael Woods topped the poll with more than 7,000 votes.
- Fianna Fail TD Martin Brady lost his seat, as Fine Gael made a comeback through new TD Terence Flanagan.
- Labour’s Tommy Broughan held on to his seat.
- SEATS 3
- ELECTORATE 58,302
- VOTERS PER TD 19,434