SINN Fein is in a commanding position to land a seat in the Dublin South West by-election after sitting Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes was elected to the European Parliament.
The junior finance minister’s election means voters in areas including Tallaght, Saggart and Rathcoole will choose his replacement in September or November.
Sinn Fein may take the seat and double its representation in Dublin South West, which is already represented by Sean Crowe.
The party performed well in the area in the local elections, and could easily have won additional seats.
In Tallaght South, Sinn Fein secured more than half the first preference votes, ensuring the comfortable election of councillor Cathal King and running mate Louise Dunne.
Mr King is favourite to contest the by-election, but party sources have refused to rule out Maire Devine, who topped the poll in Tallaght Central.
When asked by
Fianna Fail has yet to line up its candidate for the by-election. Stalwart Charlie O’Connor, who was elected to South Dublin County Council last week, said he is considering his options.
Party sources have also pointed to John Lahart.
Fine Gael and Labour sources admitted they are facing an uphill challenge to take the seat.
FG is likely to run senator Cait Keane, who has made it clear she is interested.
Labour will probably run councillor Mick Duff, who works hard on the ground.