FF have grave cause for concern about this by-election. Remember, FF managed to lose Padraig Flynn's seat in 1994 (even with his daughter on the ticket) and lost Charlie McCreevy's seat in 2005, in a contest which his son chickened out of, perhaps because he saw the writing on the wall. Flynn and McCreevy were FF giants easily on a par with Seamus Brennan and yet their seats fell like pins at a bowling alley.
Dublin South has a lot in common with Kildare North. Itís a pretty volatile area politically; it has a strong middle class vote; it's not a traditional FF stronghold; it has a zillion housing estates and apartments with voters who were not in the area 10 years ago. So the omens are not good for an FF hold.
I expect Mr. Brennan's son(s) to decline a nomination on this occasion but perhaps run at the next General Election. This leaves Maria Corrigan, who could be slaughtered on a bad day
Fair enough, but what if the PDs were to tempt Liz O'Donnell back or someone who had a high profile in the Lisbon campaign was parachuted into the constituency?
O'Donnell has been off the scene for a year now. (Plus the several years on top of that when she didn't do a stroke of work). Only the prospects of a definite win and ministerial advancement would tempt her back, judging from the reasons she gave for quitting politics after the election. So I'd say we can rule her out.
But - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Ganley run here!! With spending limits, little inconveniences like, you know, explaining where they get all their money, and an entitlement to as much media coverage as the Christian Solidarity Party, then a by-election run would be a very sobering affair for him.
His lackies and hacks may be stupid, but I doubt that they are suicidal
Declan Ganley running here would be somewhat foolhardy but maybe an Libertas alumni might chance his arm...
i understood that Dr O'Connell was still alive, he resigned his seat after the 1992 election when he lost the health portfolio and mick mulcahy started on the by-election road to leinster house.........
Just for a bit of perspective, here is a quick synopsis of every by-election held since FF came back to power in 1997. For those of you who might not be old enough to remember.
Limerick East 1998:
FF badly disappointed, picked wrong candidate who was mired in controversy during the campaign.
FG put in a surprising strong performance.
Labour keeps its seat.
Dublin North 1998:
FF perform well but lose Ray Burke's seat.
FG - poor performance
Labour sweep to victory.
Cork South Central 1998:
FF candidate was a very weak choice and made several memorable gaffes during the campaign.
FG storm to victory and keep Coveney seat.
Labour did very badly.
Dublin South Central 1999
FF topp poll but lose on transfers.
FG poll very well in absence of a Mitchell name.
Labour keep Upton seat.
Tipperary South 2000:
FF - complete disaster.
FG - did extremely well, a performance which saved John Bruton's leadership for a year
Labour - did badly despite the hype surrounding deceased TD's widow
Tipperary South 2001:
FF - Another disaster.
FG - storm to victory
Labour - not at the races
Kildare North 2005:
FF - good performance, but sorely disappointed not to win
FG - surprisingly good performance despite very weak candidate
Lab - major disappointment despite hype surrounding candidate
FF - disastrous result in one of their strongest constituencies. Wrong candidate picked.
FG - storm to victory
Lab - not at the races
So out of 8 by-elections under the FF/PD government, 3 have gone to FG, 3 for Labour, and 2 for Independents. There is nothing to suggest that this trend will be bucked.
Also it is interesting that the last two occasions where FF went for a young female candiate (Sandra Marsh in Limerick, Sinead Behan in Cork) both campaigns ended in tears. Maria Corrigan watch out?!
And further to the above, its worth noting that features of more than one of these by elections have been:
1) FF picking poor candidates (Shane Cassells, Sandra Marsh, Sinead Behan, Barry O'Brien)
2) FG doing very well despite being played down (Tipp South, Kildare North, Meath)
3) Labour expectations, built up by the media, being dashed on the day (Kildare and Tipp South)
So perhaps people should factor these trends into their guesstimates?
Also, I think it would be very damaging for Gilmore if Labour did badly here, given the proximity to his own base
Too bad then you didn't check her electoral record:
1977 - elected for Dublin mid county. 1981 - moved to Dublin South. Came in a humiliating 12th (0.64 of a quota) and didn't win a seat.
Feb 1982 - ran in Dublin South. Bottom placed FF candidate at end of the count.
Sile de Valera was elected in mid-county, not west, but moved to South after mid-county was abolished and replaced with Dublin South West which had two FF TDs and not enough votes for a third, but could not elected in South. Dublin Mid County, like Dublin South, did not elect people because of names or family reputation. You could hardly get a bigger name than de Valera and yet she proved consistently unelectable in DS. Oh, she also failed on her first attempt in Clare also. I put in Sile's name as an example of someone who even with her name could not get elected in DS. Apologies if the sentence construction made it sound as though she was elected. I meant it to mean that candidate name was not a decider in elections, hence people without a 'name' getting in and Sile not doing.
Sile de Valera did not come in a humiliating 12th place in 1981. She was placed 4th in first preferences .
I call this one for Labour. I think looking at previous elections that voters seem to come out for the unrepresented parties in local elections, and that three for FG is probably not realistic in this case. Whilst FF's 40+% at the general would seem to auger well for them, I think the only obvious block of transfers are from the Greens, SF and some independents, all of whom will heavily favour labour. Alex White has a profile now, and FG aren't doing too well in the polls nor capturing the public mood it seems. I think the only thing that will feck it up for Labour would be internal divisions. And perhaps they might want to let up on their Green bashing for a few months so as to keep the transfer rate healthy!
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