herald

Thursday 17 October 2019

Dublin turns green in a huge surge for Cuffe and company

Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe is congratulated by Janice Boylan of Sinn Fein
Green Party candidate Ciaran Cuffe is congratulated by Janice Boylan of Sinn Fein

These elections will live long in the memory because of the sudden shift in support for the Green Party amid an emerging public concern about environmental issues and climate change.

The party looks set to be one of the biggest when the new council term begins next month.

Ciaran Cuffe was among the first councillors elected to Dublin City Council - securing a seat in the first count with a huge share of the first preferences in the north inner city.

By the time Caroline Conroy secured a 10th seat for the party by coming through the final count in Ballymun-Finglas last night, the Greens had already trebled representation in City Hall.

Unique

In 2014 the party secured just three seats. Prior to that, it held no seats after the 2009 elections and just one after 2004.

Reacting to the results yesterday, leader Eamon Ryan reflected on a great result for the party.

He said it was "great to see Dublin going green".

"This is a unique opportunity we have been presented with now," he told the Herald.

"This is a chance for us to make real change in Dublin. There are big issues and big challenges for us to address.

"Come Monday morning, it is important we meet as a group, sit down and discuss what the Green Party can do to implement that change.

"There are problems in our city that, if they are addressed and tackled properly, can be really meaningful and make a difference to people's lives.

"It is not at all a time to sit back and reflect on what we have done.

"Yes, this is one of the better days you can have in politics but that is not what it is about.

ruthless

"Politics is ruthless and we have to show that we can go and make a difference now."

He said housing and transport were the biggest issues for the council to address.

"One thing the local authorities can really do that will make a difference is work with the Land Development Agency to identify areas and land where more housing can be delivered. The State really must start building houses for this housing crisis to be brought to a halt.

"One other area in Dublin that is of huge concern to us and to people is BusConnects and that is something for us to get our teeth into as well."

Ten Green candidates ran in Dublin city, with all of them securing seats. Asked if it should have fielded more candidates, Mr Ryan insisted the party should not. He said he was satisfied with the number of seats the party had secured.

The party was in the right place at the right time and it was able to capitalise on support that only really emerged in the past month, he added.

Fianna Fail also performed well, securing 10 seats, and has a chance to get further seats.

Mary Fitzpatrick won a seat on the first count in Cabra-Glasnevin with a huge share of the vote, securing more than 3,200 first preference votes.

Rachel Batten could add another seat in Artane-Whitehall when counting resumes today.

It went to a recount after the fourth count.

It was a poor election for Sinn Fein, who secured only seven seats so far - despite coming into the election with 16 sitting councillors.

Its decision to run four candidates in Ballymun- Finglas backfired.

Cathleen Carney Boud was eliminated in the final count, with just 11 votes separating her and her party colleague Anthony Connaghan, who was elected on the last count without making the quota.

The Social Democrats also performed well, with Tara Deacy elected in Kimmage-Rathmines.

North of the river, it secured seats for Gary Gannon, Mary Callaghan, Patricia Roe and Catherine Stocker.

Fine Gael has secured six seats in what has been a difficult election for the party in the capital.

Ray McAdam retained his seat in the north inner city, securing a bigger share of the first preference votes compared to 2014.

Elsewhere, James Geoghegan, Paddy McCartan, Anne Feeney, Danny Byrne and Naoise O Muiri all successfully secured seats.

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