Saturday 17 March 2018

Dublin Central: Drumcondra Mafia lose grip on power

Kevin Keane

SQUABBLING Fianna Fail has been left without a TD in the traditional stronghold of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, after Sinn Fein and Fine Gael took the party's two seats.

Bitter divisions in the party allowed Sinn Fein to finally infiltrate Mr Ahern's former heartland to take the last seat.

Mr Ahern topped the poll with more than 12,000 votes in 2007 but the two competing candidates of Cyprian Brady and Mary Fitzpatrick took only 5,141 votes between them. Outgoing TD Mr Brady, elected on Mr Ahern's coat-tails in 2007 when he had just 939 votes, only managed 1,637 votes this time around.

The former Taoiseach had actively campaigned for Mr Brady against Ms Fitzpatrick in recent weeks but she pulled ahead of Mr Brady with 4,526 votes.

But Ms Fitzpatrick lost out to Sinn Fein's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald in the battle for the constituency's final seat.

The other Fianna Fail seat was won by senator Paschal Donohoe of Fine Gael.

Few Fianna Fail supporters were present in the RDS in the early hours of Sunday morning to witness the defeat of their party to Sinn Fein.

That was in stark contrast to the large numbers of Tricolour-clad Sinn Fein members who packed the announcement area of the arena to proclaim Ms McDonald's victory.

Earlier, Fine Gael was the first party to claim a seat when Mr Donohoe was elected following the second count. Next elected was Labour's Joe Costello, whose party polled by far the highest proportion of first preference votes with 28.3pc.

Independent candidate Maureen O'Sullivan took 12pc of the first preferences and claimed the third of the four seats on offer.

"It is amazing that both (FF) seats went and that the 12,000 votes that Bertie Ahern had in 2007 didn't go to Fianna Fail in sufficient numbers that they would even hold on to one seat", Ms O'Sullivan told the Irish Independent.

She said that it appeared that Fianna Fail's defeat spelled the end of the 'Drumcondra Mafia', and added that she was "learning there's nothing assured in politics".

Irish Independent Supplement

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