Tuesday 21 May 2019

Coppinger and Donnelly neck-and-neck in Dublin West

Niall O'Connor, Citywest

The Dublin West by-election is on a knife edge as Sinn Fein threatens to cause an upset and take the seat.

Paul Donnelly has secured an exceptionally strong vote and is narrowly ahead the Socialist Party's Ruth Coppinger on first preference votes. Both candidates are on 20pc.

Almost all of the boxes have been opened and Fianna Fail's David McGuinness remains well in the race. The sitting councillor is on 17pc, according to tallies.

Independent candidate David Hall admitted that he is facing an "uphill battle" to take the seat. He is on 13pc along with Fine Gael's Eamonn Coghlan.

However, Mr Hall says transfers will be crucial and that he needs to poll ahead of the former Olympian to be in with a chance.

"I think it is going to be a challenge. But at the same time, it is my first time out. A three week campaign which is not exactly the longest period in the history of the State. A very disgruntled, hurt and upset electorate and they've shown that clearly today," he said.

The by-election is an absolute disaster for Labour. The party's candidate and chairperson Loraine Mulligan, could be beaten into 7th place by the Green Party's Roderic O'Gorman.

Labour minister Joe Costello said his party have been given a "slap across the wrist".

"They (the electorate) are not ruling us out, they are just letting us know that they are not happy with us at this particular time and that we have to improve," he added.

Fianna Fáil candidate David McGuinness has said transfers will be the deciding factor in the outcome.

"From our point of view, we're out in front of Fine Gael, the independents and the Green Party and that's the place we needed to be in this to be in the shake up in the end," he said.

"So as the transfers start to come, I'd imaginable that I will get the line share of transfers and that will put me in contention.

"We're not optimistic, we're not pessimistic, we're in the middle," he added.

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