Tuesday 26 September 2017

Dublin West

Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger
Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger

Few constituencies will have a heavier group of political hitters than in Dublin West.

In the coalition corner the future leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar, and the current Labour leader, Joan Burton, will be fighting for their political lives.

Leo's political ownership of the formerly Lenihan centred Castleknock posh set means that he should be safe.

In the case of Ms Burton though, whilst she may be the designated national Queen Mum she faces a real battle for her own personal political survival.

How the Tanaiste fares will be a bell-weather moment which will define whether Labour lives or dies.

Her primary challenges are expected to come from Fianna Fail's David McGuinness or A N Other and more seriously Sinn Fein's Paul Donnelly who has been stealthily advancing over the last five years.

Dublin West is uniquely critical for both parties.

For Fianna Fail, failure to win a seat in the sole Dublin constituency to return a Fianna Fail TD in 2011 will confirm that Micheal's party are still the embalmed radicals of Irish politics.

Sinn Fein, having been chased out of Dublin West by Joe Higgins for two decades would consider the winning of a seat there to represent one of their sweetest triumphs.

They have been polishing this particular apple for so long it resembles Blake's famous poisoned apple.

For Joan Burton meanwhile the ides of 1997 where she lost her seat are coming sharply into view.

The challenge though is as stark and compelling as any she faced in the Liam Lawlor and Brian Lenihan age.

And should a compelling Reboot Ireland Alliance candidate such as David Hall emerge, Ms Burton, who is fighting on too many fronts for comfort already, could suffer the indignity of becoming the second Labour leader to lose her seat.

John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015

The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.

Sunday Independent

Also in this section