Sunday 28 May 2017

Nulty's win seals a great week for Labour

John Drennan

John Drennan

Labour was celebrating an electoral double-whammy in the wake of the by-election victory by Patrick Nulty.

It became the first political party outside of Fianna Fail to win a presidential election.

However, its triumph in Dublin West means Labour is also the first government party to win a by-election since Fianna Fail's Noel Treacy won in Galway East in 1992.

Mr Nulty's status as the last man out in the recent general election, allied to his status as "a turbulent priest" over issues such as coalition with FG and cutbacks, meant he was in with a better chance than most government candidates.

Outside of Labour, the party most satisfied with its performance will be Fianna Fail. The failure of its candidate David McGuinness to be elected means that FF is the only major party not to have a TD in Dublin.

However, Fianna Fail's vote was up by five per cent on its general election performance as Mr McGuinness finished in a highly credible second place. Sources within the constituency told the Sunday Independent that "the Lenihan factor played a critical role in FF's performance".

They noted that "in the last week, there had been a lot of emphasis on remembering Brian's legacy and that this had been Brian's seat; this obviously had an impact on an electorate".

Fianna Fail sources said there had been a Lenihan factor but added that the success "of a bright 25-year-old candidate with no connection to the past was light at the end of a long tunnel".

In contrast, the election result was disastrous for Fine Gael, which was comprehensively routed by Fianna Fail, and for Sinn Fein, which, courtesy of the strength of Joe Higgins, has never managed to secure a foothold in the much-coveted working-class constituency.

Sunday Independent

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