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Wide open field in Dublin West for election

THE death of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan will result in a by-election in his Dublin West constituency to elect a replacement TD.

After the loss of Fianna Fail's only TD in Dublin, the party will be keen to hold on to the seat.

But the outcome of the by-election is far from predictable, with the field wide open.

The Government's commitment to hold by-elections within six months of a vacancy means the vote will most likely be held this year.

Last night, there was speculation that the by-election would be held on the same day as the Presidential election in October or November.

The constituency has a star-studded line up of TDs from the general election, when Mr Lenihan won the fourth seat behind Labour's Joan Burton, Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar and Socialist Joe Higgins.

Fianna Fail will possibly seek to have Conor Lenihan, the former TD for neighbouring Dublin South-West, run as its candidate in the constituency represented by his brother and father.

The party also has Cllr David McGuinness who was elected to Fingal County Council in the 2009 local elections. He ran in the general election as Mr Lenihan's running mate, but got only 600 votes.

Fine Gael Cllr Kieran Dennison also won a seat in the local elections of 2009, which resulted in him being Mr Varadkar's running mate.

But he followed the general election with a poor performance in the Seanad campaign, where he failed to take a seat.

Labour councillor Patrick Nulty is another new councillor and will be expected to be a candidate.

Sinn Fein ran former councillor Paul Donnelly in the general election, but the party has struggled to gain a foothold in the constituency.

Mr Higgins will likely have a Socialist Party candidate, but it would be difficult to see the party winning a second seat in the constituency.

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Irish Independent