Friday 6 December 2019

Wexford by-election: Battle between FF and FG in the south-east

 

One of those who lost out to Mr Wallace is Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne, whose strong European campaign is seen as putting him in an even stronger position for a Dáil seat this time around. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
One of those who lost out to Mr Wallace is Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne, whose strong European campaign is seen as putting him in an even stronger position for a Dáil seat this time around. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

About 109,000 people are eligible to vote in Wexford but if even a third of that turn out for today's by-election it will be a surprise.

The contest is seen as a straight shoot-out between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for a seat vacated by the larger-than-life Independent Mick Wallace, who was elected an MEP in May. One of those who lost out to Mr Wallace is Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne, whose strong European campaign is seen as putting him in an even stronger position for a Dáil seat this time around.

His strongest competition is Fine Gael's Verona Murphy, the president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, whose comments about migrants and Isil have dominated the campaign nationally. Locally Ms Murphy has shunned the media of late but mounted a strong ground campaign. She may top the poll on the first count but transfers could help Mr Byrne, whose name-recognition will be just as strong after the European elections.

Labour councillor George Lawlor should poll strongly given his close links to party leader and local TD Brendan Howlin. Mr Lawlor's transfers are likely to determine which of the Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael candidates is elected. Sinn Féin is hoping that Johnny Mythen will poll strongly given he narrowly missed out on a Dáil seat in 2016. Buthe lost his council seat in May.

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Other candidates are: Cinnamon Blackmore, Solidarity/PBP; Jim Codd, Aontú; Karin Dubsky, Greens; Charlie Keddy, Independent; Melissa O'Neill, Irish Freedom Party.

Irish Independent

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