Dublin South-East: Murphy punches above his weight
NEWBIE Fine Gael councillor Eoghan Murphy is playing catch-up on his rival heavyweights with a high-profile, high-spending campaign.
But he will need it if he's going to take on Fine Gael rival Lucinda Creighton.
His prominent constituency office in the heart of Ranelagh village, his full-time dedication to local politics on a councillor's salary of just €14,000 and his proliferation of expensive election posters has caused envious and bitter murmurings.
The party's new poster boy also has a professional PR person from a leading Dublin firm working for him in a "voluntary" capacity.
He has taken over the offices where former Justice Minister Michael McDowell once held forth in a bid to compete with local heavyweights John Gormley, Ruairi Quinn, Chris Andrews and Ms Creighton.
But the 2009 local election poll-topper insisted he's getting the financing by "going back to the bank manager and the credit card" and then balancing that with constant fundraising.
"We had this high-vis local election campaign and then heard all these rumours afterwards saying how we'd spent thousands and thousands and it was all ridiculous," he said.
"You can be quite creative with a small amount of money if you spend it wisely."
The councillor is the first in his family to enter politics and embrace the public attention that goes with it. But he is not the first member of his family to gain a public profile.
His grandfather Russell Murphy hit the national headlines in the 1980s when it emerged he had embezzled funds placed with him by celebrities including broadcaster Gay Byrne and playwright Hugh Leonard.
Mr Murphy said he did not want to discuss the issue, insisting his family was "private".
But he added: "It must have been incredibly difficult for my family at the time. For me, he was my grandfather. He shouldn't have done it. There's nothing I can do about that now. I continue on focussing on myself and what I want to achieve."
The full-time daily grind has allowed him to compete for a seat -- the most vulnerable of which is perceived to be that of Green Party leader Mr Gormley.
Observers across the parties claim Labour's Ruairi Quinn will top the poll with a massive first preference vote, leaving his running mate, councillor Kevin Humphreys, in position to take a seat on his transfers.
Ms Creighton, Fine Gael's outspoken rebel, is expected to stave off the threat from her running mate, leaving Mr Andrews, Mr Gormley and a number of others, including Independents Mannix Flynn and Paul Somerville, and Mr Murphy in contention for the fourth and final seat.
All are agreed there will be plenty more 'Rumbles in Ranelagh' before the 2011 election campaign reaches its end.
Chris Andrews TD
Lucinda Creighton TD, Cllr Eoghan Murphy
Ruadhan Mac Aodhain
Ruairi Quinn TD, Cllr Kevin Humphreys
John Gormley TD
Mannix Flynn, Paul Somerville
UNITED LEFT ALLIANCE
Last time out in 2007
FF’s Chris Andrews topped the poll and took the seat vacated by Eoin Ryan MEP
Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton also emerged as a new TD, taking the seat of former Justice Minister Michael McDowell
Green Party leader John Gormley squeaked home on the last seat, having faced down Mr McDowell during the ‘Rumble in Ranelagh’
VOTERS PER TD 13,961