Saturday 23 September 2017

Labour fears over 'council wipe-out'

JOHN DRENNAN Political Editor

Concerns are rising within Labour that the party is facing a "county council wipe-out''.

In 2009, Labour won 132 council seats, which represented a gain of 31 on its 2004 figures.

However, as the party lingers around the 6 per cent mark, concern is growing within the party that up to 100 of those could be lost.

Though the party is expected to sustain losses, the increased numbers of council seats available, particularly in Dublin, allied to larger council ward sizes, mean that the party officially hopes to return with between 80 and 100 council seats. Anything lower than that would plunge the Gilmore leadership into a serious tail-spin.

However, fear is growing within the party that it could fare worse than the scenario in "1985 where with 7.7 per cent we won 54 seats and were chased out of Dublin with just two councillors''.

One source noted: "The situation could be far worse than 1985, the Sinn Fein surge did not exist – in the 1980s the candidates were non-existent."

Unease within the parliamentary party will also be intensified by concerns that a heavy council election defeat could lead to a Seanad wipe-out too.

Sunday Independent

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