Saturday 23 March 2019

Key constituency - Tipperary

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry
Mattie McGrath

Outside of that famous aficionado of 'lovely girls', Micheal Lowry, no-one is safe here.

The future for Labour hangs on Alan Kelly securing a seat in the teeth of an accelerating rural revolt.

Fianna Fail, if it has to have a future in the old stomping ground of the Smith and Davern dynasties, must win a seat here.

Astonishingly their chances are at best equivocal.

Then there is the battle of the Independent dynasties, for outside of 'Lowry' there is Mattie McGrath, that child from the world of The Irish RM, and Seamus Healy the last revolutionary socialist in Tipperary.

They are, to put it mildly, different creatures, but both will be major pebbles in the shoes of the established parties. Now, just to add to the mix, Sinn Fein is coming up on the rails.

Normally in the fertile farmland of the Golden Vale, Fine Gael would be sure of two big farmer seats.

When it comes to Tom Hayes and Noel Coonan neither is assured of a seat.

Their respective fates are only one of a number of questions which, when answered, tell us much about the national trend.

Outside of asking can the Fine Gael centre hold, Tipperary will tell us if Fianna Fail can regain a foothold as a serious national party rather than its current state as a sort of glee club for political nostalgics.

It will tell us the truth about Sinn Fein's own aims to become a national party and Labour's prayers to continue being one at the expense of another Independent's day.

When it comes to the status of Tipperary as a prologue to a far bigger national play we can only be sure of one thing.

There will be plenty of skelping in the fertile plains of the 'premier county' before the final score emerges.

John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015

The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.

Sunday Independent

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