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Ross may go from hero to zero in ultimate fickle area


Minister Shane Ross

Minister Shane Ross

Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin


Minister Shane Ross

Every general election throws up a high-profile casualty as a major political figure falls foul of the voters.

When gazing into the crystal ball, pundits will usually look to the fickle constituencies on the south side of Dublin, particularly the old Dublin South.

Now the narrowed down Dublin Rathdown, it covers suburbs from the edge of the city to the Wicklow mountains, from Milltown to Kilternan and Rathfarmham to Stillorgan.

From the outside, the constituency is viewed as affluent, liberal - and unpredictable.

TDs can go from hero to zero at the ballot box here.

Former minister Alan Shatter was the shock loser here last time out. This time, all eyes are on Shane Ross.

The Transport Minister topped the poll in 2016 but has a target on his back in 2020. He has had a controversial term in Cabinet as head of the Independent Alliance of TDs.


Nobody ever feels safe in this constituency. However, Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin is expected to be fine with a Green wave at her back.

Fine Gael has been building for two seats here, with a formidable pairing of Culture Minister Josepha Madigan and senator Neale Richmond.

This constituency was top of the party's list of gains in Dublin for the past two years. Ms Madigan is the only first-term TD in Cabinet. Mr Richmond has gained kudos for putting the Government's case on Brexit to a UK audience.

Given Fine Gael's struggles, it's hard to see the party taking two seats.

Ms Madigan's only worry is being caught by her understudy, Mr Richmond. After all, she did the same to Mr Shatter two years ago. Her involvement in the Maria Bailey Swing-gate case controversy has been a blot on her copy book.

That leaves the last seat between Mr Ross and a chasing pack. The poll-topping performance of Labour's Lettie McCarthy in the local elections makes her a firm contender with a strong local track record in the growing south of the constituency.

Fianna Fail's Shay Brennan is another contender to be reckoned with.

In bygone days, his father, the late Seamus Brennan, and his Fianna Fail colleague Tom Kitt dominated this constituency for a generation. That name recognition and track record still count for something.

Mr Ross is banking on his own record in Cabinet on issues such as drink-driving laws and local priorities like the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station, which has been renovated but not opened yet, to get him across the line.

But a warning shot of the mood was fired when two of his activists lost their seats in the local elections last year.

Candidates: Shay Brennan (FF), Deirdre Conroy (FF), Liam Coughlan (Aon), Josepha Madigan (FG), Catherine Martin (Green), Lettie McCarthy (Lab), Sorcha Nic Cormaic (SF), Eoghan O Ceannabhain (PBP), Patrick Noonan (Ind), Neale Richmond (FG), Shane Ross (Ind).

Prediction: Catherine Martin, Josepha Madigan, Shay Brennan.