Tuesday 22 January 2019

Political unknown who topped poll is grandson of disgraced accountant Labour's Byrne wins council seat FF results 'disappointing', says Martin 'Whiff of decay and rotting greens' Ahern never expected to win seat Miriam's little brother beats Ryan's

A 27-year-old political unknown who topped the poll in the Pembroke-Rathmines area of Dublin is a grandson of the late, disgraced accountant Russell Murphy.

Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy gave up a speechwriting/advisor job in a UN agency working for nuclear disarmament last summer to take his chances on a domestic political career.

His poll-topping performance for Fine Gael casts a big cloud over any ambition by former Tanaiste/PD minister Michael McDowell to join Fine Gael in the hope of returning to the Dail for Dublin South East.

Mr Murphy will have his own power base within legal circles through his father Henry Murphy SC.

"I've no family background in politics and they think I am crazy," Mr Murphy said.

His interest in nuclear disarmament started while studying international relations in King's College, London, and then working for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, in Vienna.

He said he was looking forward to the challenge of switching his focus from global disarmament to local and community issues.

Russell Murphy gained notoriety after his death when it emerged that he had embezzled funds placed with him by celebrities including broadcaster Gay Byrne and playwright Hugh Leonard.

Labour's Byrne wins council seat

Labour's Eric Bryne, something of a marathon man in Irish politics, sprinted home to take the first seat on Dublin City Council yesterday, for Crumlin-Kimmage.

The former TD, who famously lost his Dail seat by five votes after a 10-day recount in the 1992 general election, repeated his poll-topping performance in the 2004 local elections.

FF results 'disappointing', says Martin

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Michael Martin admitted Fianna Fail's local government election performance was "very disappointing", but stressed that the party was campaigning in the teeth of what he described as "a gale force wind".

Mr Martin -- speaking in Cork -- stressed that FF had implemented a very defensive electoral strategy in most areas in a bid to defend seats and predicted that it would work despite the dramatic decline in the party vote.

"It [the party vote] is down and obviously we are disappointed. But we were up against a gale force wind here," he told the Sunday Independent.

"It is certainly not our day. We now have to reflect on that.

"I am around a long time and it [the FF performance] is by and large around where the opinion polls indicated over the past few weeks.

"Really the battle hinged on the work that the councillors put in on the ground themselves over the past five years," he added.

"It has been very difficult for them in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis and the recent tax hikes. People have also lost their jobs and there is a lot of uncertainty out there," he added.

"The reality for our candidates is that they couldn't run in a more difficult environment. I felt a lot of sympathy for our local candidates because, to a certain extent, they were getting the fall-out from the national political scene.

"We looked at this from the very start from a seats-strategy point of view -- we wanted to hold as many seats as we could and that's what we tried to do despite knowing that our percentage vote was going to be down," he added.

'Whiff of decay and rotting greens'

There is a "whiff of political decay and rotting greens", about the Government, said Fine Gael's Alan Shatter.

He said what was needed was not a review of the Programme for Government, but a general election. The general public, he claimed, regarded the Government as the most incompetent in the history of the State.

He added that Fine Gael had an "incredible result" in Dublin South.

"In a way we are going back to the future as we had three seats in the early Eighties. It was a fantastic result," he said.

Ahern never expected to win seat

"Any sign of Cyprian Brady -- human surplus" -- Sean O'Rourke to Maurice Ahern on RTE radio.

Explaining his poor 12.5pc showing in Dublin Central, Fianna Fail's Maurice Ahern said: "The tide is out all over the place."

He said the result was disappointing, "not that we ever expected we would win".

About his poor showing, he added: "I was hoping to get more than that."

Mr Ahern said he had worked hard in the area for the last 10 years, but said he was a "virgin" when he stood in 1999. He headed the poll in the council and "skated" in, having done no work himself.

It would "not be a good idea to go to the polls tomorrow" but he believed the Government would go the full three remaining years.

Asked if he had talked to his brother Bertie about the result, he said Bertie never came up to counts on election day.

"I haven't talked to him on the phone. My number comes up private so he never answers," he said.

Miriam's little brother beats Ryan's

It was a race that mirrored the contest to present The Late Late Show -- but this time it was an O'Callaghan who triumphed over a Tubridy.

In the Pembroke Ward for Dublin City Council, Fianna Fail barrister Jim O'Callaghan, who is Miriam's younger brother, polled 1,356 votes while his running mate, Garrett Tubridy, Ryan's younger brother, could only manage 782 and was heading for elimination.

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