Speaking to a number of ' shrewd' political people over the Easter weekend a consensus opinion appears to be that the Fianna Fail candidate in Meath East was a poor choice. Thomas Byrne has strong associations with East Meath and Drogheda whereas the real battle ground in the By election was in the South of the constituency where Byrne has no presence.
The views expressed was that Helen McEntees surprising vote in the Southern part was no real surprise as there was no credible local candidate in that area. They felt that a local person ( Nick Killian?) could haver fought an effective local campaign in that area while consolidating the FF vote elsewhere.
This is not a criticism of Thomas Byrne - but he is not the superstar he thinks he is . It is a criticism of the FF handlers and perhaps adds credibility to the pre election story that FF were looking to Mary Wallace to run. ( Personally I think Mary would have bombed big time.)