Saturday 7 December 2019

Dublin Rathdown: Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Alex White lose out

Fine Gael's Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Fine Gael's Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Shane Ross celebrating his re-election
Shane Ross. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael's Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath

Conor Feehan and David Kearns

For a three-seater with only nine candidates, Dublin Rathdown proved an exciting constituency with former ministers Alex White and Alan Shatter eliminated.

The fact that Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell didn’t enter the fray this time, and former Fine Gaeler Peter Mathews ran as an Independent and was eliminated, meant that Independent Alliance candidate Shane Ross was the only survivor from the previous five seater formerly known as Dublin South.

A last ditch attempt at vote management by Fine Gael also came into play, which Alan Shatter brought up in conversation after Green candidate Catherine Martin leapfrogged him to the third seat.

Fine Gael had sent election-eve letters, signed by Enda Kenny and Brian Hayes, to voters in Stillorgan/Kilmacud and Clonskeagh/Roebuck asking them to vote for Madigan ahead of Shatter.

An angry Shatter tried to issue a countermand, but it was very late in the day.

“Unfortunately there was some interference in the electoral process by Fine Gael headquarters that I objected to when it took place. To a minimal extent I attempted to counteract it but I substantially didn’t.

“It’s unfortunate that when you’re running campaigns and people who aren’t involved in them seem to think they can sit in Mount Street and impose views on people that bear no relationship to what’s happening on the ground," he told the Irish Independent.

"I’m very disappointed obviously at the result. I believed that we had a very good possibility of winning two seats in this constituency. I worked very hard with my team, and I know Josepha did with hers and it wasn’t to be - the electorate made their decision.

For his part, Alex White said he would take time to reflect to see what the future holds for him.

“We are just partly through the day. I’ll consider that. I came to politics late and some people might say I’m leaving it early if indeed I make that decision.

“I haven’t actually made any final decision. It’s always difficult to make those big, life, decisions on a day like this,” he said.

Josepha Madigan beamed at winning a seat for Fine Gael.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and it is a real privilege to continue on Olivia Mitchell’s work in this constituency,” she said.

There was massive joy in the count centre when Catherine Martin of the Green party grabbed the third seat in a David and Goliath battle.

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