Thursday 19 April 2018

Left-wing has Labour in its sights in Dublin South Central

Brid Smith. Photo: Tom Burke
Brid Smith. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Bríd Smith's strategy is laid bare in four simple words: "I want Labour's scalp."

While insisting the remark is made in the "nicest possible of terms", the left-wing politician (pictured right) representing AAA-PBP clearly has her sights on unseating the incumbent Labour TD Eric Byrne.

And in a constituency that is seen as being one of the most left-wing in the country, and which is dropping from five to four seats, Smith's plan to target disillusioned Labour voters may well prove effective.

"People are furious with Labour over their broken promises," says the prominent anti-water charges protester whose base is Ballyfermot.

Labour secured over 27pc of the vote in 2011, returning Byrne and his running mate Michael Conaghan, who is not running this time.

Nonetheless, Byrne faces a serious fight to hold his seat, especially if the tide remains out for Labour.

Catherine Byrne (FG) will comfortably take a seat here. As a TD, she wears her heart on her sleeve and has built up a strong support base locally.

Another politician certain to be returned is Sinn Féin's social protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

The question will be whether he has the capacity to also bring in his running mate, councillor Máire Devine, who has moved from Dublin South West.

Fianna Fáil is anxious to rebuild its base and this constituency is the home of former TD Séan Ardagh.

The party has opted to field his daughter Catherine - whose selection was shrouded in controversy.

But the intriguing battle will centre upon Smith and the United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins.

Collins was previously associated with other left-wing TDs but parted company after disagreements.

If the constituency lives up to its reputation, the pair could be in the 32nd Dáil. But there is a danger that the left-wing vote could be overly split.

The other runners include Michael Gargan (Renua), Liam Coyne (Soc Dems), Oisin Ó hAlmhain (GP), Independents Paul Hand and Richard Murray, and Neville Bradley (DDI).


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