Sunday 8 December 2019

Dublin South West

Fine Gael (2), Sinn Fein (1), Fianna Fail (1), Anti-Austerity Alliance (1).

How the votes will fall in the newly enlarged Dublin South West is anyone’s guess.

The constituency now takes in several thousand new voters from the middle class areas of Rathfarnham and Knocklyon and stretches to the outer reaches of Tallaght.

Since the last general election, the constituency lost two sitting TDs – Labour’s Pat Rabbitte to retirement and Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes to the European Parliament.

In the meantime, it gained left-wing rabble-rouser Paul Murphy, an Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD.

A head of next month’s vote, political minds of all hues are finding it difficult to predict who will fill the five Dáil seats once the votes are counted.

The only given is the return of Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe and the party will hope to secure another seat with his running mate, South Dublin County Council Lord Mayor Sarah Holland, however, this is unlikely.

Mr Hayes had a strong vote last time round and, with Fine Gael hovering around 30pc in the opinion polls, the party will be confident of a seat.

The party is fielding three candidates, Colm Brophy, Anne-Marie Dermody and Karen Warren.

Mr Brophy and Ms Dermody have locked horns in the constituency for the first seat but Fine Gael insiders say the former is winning the battle.

The party is hopeful of two seats but the second seat, or indeed the first, is likely to be hotly contested by Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart who has been given a free run of the constituency.

However, this means a lot of ground to cover for a councillor who disappointed the party with just 8pc of the vote in by-election two years ago. Fianna Fáil may rue not putting party stalwart Charlie O’Connor on the ticket.

The winner of the by-election was Mr Murphy, who is facing a court date this year over allegations of false imprisonment stemming from the siege of Jobstown which saw Tánaiste Joan Burton trapped in her car for two hours by protestors.

Mr Murphy is well-placed to take a seat but local sources say he has not endeared himself to the electorate and will certainly not receive the massive 27pc of the vote he received during the by-election.

First-time TD Eamonn Maloney landed a seat with Labour but quit over the party’s constituency strategy and is now running as an Independent. 

This could damage Labour’s chance as Mr Maloney has a strong personal vote in the Tallaght end of the constituency.

Labour is fielding councillors Pamela Kearns and Mick Duff with the Templeogue based female candidate seen as the party’s best chance.

It is hoped Ms Kearns may get over the line on the back of Fine Gael transfers if the Coalition’s vote pact is implemented. 

A good outside bet is Renua County Councillor Ronan McMahon, who got a good vote in the by-election as an Independent candidate.

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