Thursday 30 March 2017

Dublin North: FF feels squeeze amid commuter-belt vote collapse

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE battle in the commuter country of Dublin North will be between the two sitting Fianna Fail TDs as they slug it out for the collapsed party vote.

When Fianna Fail held its two seats in the constituency in 2007, it signalled Bertie Ahern was back on his way to the Taoiseach's office with the commuter wind at his back.

But Darragh O'Brien and Michael Kennedy are now fighting for what will realistically be one FF seat -- even though Mr O'Brien insists he "is not giving up on the second".

The 36-year-old was one of the younger batch of FF politicians appointed to Micheal Martin's frontbench last week, when he was made spokesman on sport.

"Many people I'm talking to say they want politicians who will work locally but also nationally as well," he said.

Mr O'Brien was a strong supporter of Taoiseach Brian Cowen, while Mr Kennedy (62) was a vocal critic. But Mr O'Brien insists that issue is in the past, and is not greatly concerning voters. Both candidates are factoring in support they lost when the constituency was re-drawn, with areas going to Dublin West and Dublin North-East, including Mr Kennedy's hometown of Portmarnock.

The boundary changes will also hit Socialist Party councillor Clare Daly, who would have been odds-on to take a seat if a large part of her Swords support base hadn't been transferred to Dublin West. She is likely to be battling for the last seat with long-time Green TD Trevor Sargent. Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly was returned to the Dail on his first outing in the 2007 General Election and has built up a strong profile as health spokesman and party deputy leader.

Labour senator Brendan Ryan lost out to Dr Reilly on the 10th count in 2007, but the Labour surge should get him elected.





CANDIDATES

FIANNA FAIL

Michael Kennedy TD

Darragh O’Brien TD

FINE GAEL

Dr James Reilly TD

Cllr Alan Farrell

LABOUR

Senator Brendan Ryan

Cllr Tom Kelleher

SINN FEIN

No candidate

GREEN PARTY

Trevor Sargent TD

SOCIALIST PARTY

Cllr Clare Daly

Last time out in 2007

Fianna Fail took two of the four seats, with Michael Kennedy and Darragh O’Brien taking the seats left by retirees GV Wright and Jim Glennon.

Fine Gael’s Dr James Reilly regained the seat formerly held by ex-justice minister Nora Owen, who lost her seat during an e-voting trial in 2002.

Labour’s Brendan Ryan failed to hold his brother Sean’s seat and was subsequently elected to the Seanad. He is hoping to capitalise on the Labour surge.



THE NUMBERS

SEATS 4

ELECTORATE 81,806

VOTERS PER TD 20,452



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