Friday 28 April 2017

Labour senator favourite to take over Dail seat

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

LABOUR Party Senator Alex White will again be installed as the favourite for the Dublin South by-election -- the position he held before George Lee's entry into the first race.

The by-election will cost the taxpayers about €300,000, only a year after the vacancy was caused by the death of former Fianna Fail minister Seamus Brennan.

Mr Brennan's son, Shay Brennan, was the party candidate in the last general election -- and he signalled last night that he wanted to run again but his sister, Aoife Brennan, who was elected as a councillor on the same day as the by-election could be regarded as a better long-term prospect.

But all the runners got rolled over by the bandwagon started by Mr Lee's stunning decision to join Fine Gael and become their candidate. Mr Lee won the seat by taking 53pc of the poll, with a staggering 27,768 votes.

Nomination

Fianna Fail Senator Maria Corrigan, who sought the by-election nomination and was a candidate in the last two general elections, will again be in contention to be on the ticket while FF Cllr John Lahart cannot be ruled out either as the candidate.

Fianna Fail will look to the by-election to build their line-up for the next General Election with former minister Tom Kitt retiring.

And watch out for former PD Fiona O'Malley, now an Independent senator, who could move to Dublin South from Dun Laoghaire following a constituency redraw.

Normally, the party that loses the seat moves the writ for the following by-election.

There is no timeline for holding the by-election, but it will most likely be held on the same day as the Donegal South-West by-election -- whenever that happens.

Fine Gael won't be rushing into calling any by-election, although Fianna Fail won't be too enthusiastic either.

FG's chances of winning the by-election after Mr Lee's abrupt departure will be regarded as pretty slim. Indeed, the party can expect a backlash and their prospects of taking three seats there at the next General Election will be virtually non-existent.

The Green Party's Elizabeth Davidson and Sinn Fein's Shaun Treacy will also likely be chalked down on the ballot paper.

Irish Independent

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