Monday 22 January 2018

Lyons facing an uphill battle four years after he almost quit

Challenge: John Lyons. Photo: Arthur Carron
Challenge: John Lyons. Photo: Arthur Carron Newsdesk Newsdesk

Coalition TDs often recall the experience of having to bear the brunt of intense public anger, especially during the early stages of the Government's term of office.

But for Labour Party deputy John Lyons, the backlash he personally received over one particular decision almost pushed him over the edge.

In February 2012, Lyons contemplated quitting politics over cuts to DEIS schools - a move that was later reversed by then Education Minister Ruairí Quinn following public uproar.

"You get up in the morning and consider, as a TD, how you can make things better for people, not worse," Mr Lyons said.

"So to have fingers being pointed at you like you're intentionally out to cause hurt, that's difficult...To be fair to Ruairí (Quinn), he put his hands up and admitted he got it wrong," he added.

Mr Lyons was elected on the back of the 'Gilmore Gale' in 2011 and knows he is facing a serious battle to be returned.

The TD from Ballymun, Dublin, benefited significantly from Róisín Shortall's surplus five years ago - a luxury no longer available due to her defection to the Social Democrats.

Lyons is likely to be in a dogfight for the final seat with Fine Gael councillor Noel Rock.

This will ensue after the first two seats are taken by Sinn Féin's Dessie Ellis and Ms Shortall.

Ms Shortall's celebrations following her expected election could be short-lived, however.

This is because the former Minister for Primary Care will potentially be part of the post-election negotiations - if Fine Gael and Labour's combined numbers come up short.

For Fine Gael, winning a seat in Dublin North West would represent a notable milestone. It is the only constituency in the country that does not have a Fine Gael TD.

That is why there is significant pressure, and expectation, being placed on the shoulders of the young, hard-working councillor Mr Rock, who has the strong backing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Fianna Fáil's Paul McAuliffe, the party's leader on Dublin City Council, and Sinn Féin's second candidate Cathleen Carney -Boud, will record sizeable votes which could prove crucial in terms of transfers.

Other candidates include the Green Party's Caroline Conroy, anti-austerity candidate Andrew Keegan, Jimmy Dignam of the Workers' Party, Cormac McKay of Direct Democracy Ireland and Independent candidate Bernie Hughes.

Prediction: SD/SF/FG

Irish Independent

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