Thursday 22 February 2018

Independents: Non-party runners in line for 25 seats

Shane Doran and Fiach Kelly

DESPITE the high profile failure of the much vaunted Democracy Now movement, the number of Independent TDs in the Dail is set to treble.

The latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll puts support for Independents at 15pc.

This means the 31st Dail could be home up to 25 local -- and in many cases single issue -- TDs as disillusioned voters turn their backs on the established parties.

This has raised fears of even further political instability.

However, the expected Fine Gael/Labour coalition is likely to enjoy a comfortable majority which, unlike the previous government, will not be held to ransom by regionally motivated deputies.

A number of high-profile candidates, such as Senator Shane Ross and economist Paul Sommerville, are running.

But TD Finian McGrath, who is looking to retain his seat in Dublin North-Central, said that "community-based candidates are up against huge resources from all major parties.

"It's extremely difficult for an Independent to get elected but the public at the moment seem to have an open mind and I feel about 30pc of the electorate are thinking of going Independent."

Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who is looking for a seat in Mayo, said: "I do think Independents will do very well in this election."

A former chairman of the Consumers' Association of Ireland and SIPTU official, he said he is pleased with the support he has received.

Irish Independent

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