Thursday 17 January 2019

Gogarty set to fall in the battle for Harney's vote

THE story of this constituency will probably be the scramble for Mary Harney's vote.

Her exit from the political stage has opened a door to Fine Gael who will be looking to jump from no seats to two.

Labour will also be vying to make a gain in Dublin Mid-West while Fianna Fail will be hoping that the party's chief whip can hang on.

John Curran was first TD returned to Dail in 2007 having amassed 7,468 votes to get comfortably elected on the first count.

This time around, he will be scraping the bottom of the ballot box with the aim of securing the final seat. Barring a total disaster -- which is possible -- he should make it.

If the Fianna Fail man survives, the big casualty is all but certain to be Dail tongue-lasher Paul Gogarty.

The Green vote is likely to collapse in a constituency which has a high proportion of working-class people.

But the battle among Fine Gael and Labour is likely to be more interesting. Last time, Fine Gael senator Frances Fitzgerald was narrowly squeezed out by Labour's Joanna Tuffy.

But Fitzgerald, who is a close ally of Enda Kenny, will be hoping that former Harney supporters look her way.

Fine Gael has also added a second strong name to the ticket in the form of councillor and local activist Derek Keating.

As an independent in 2007, Keating managed 2,700 first preference votes while Fitzgerald was ahead of Tuffy and Gogarty but lost out on transfers.

However, as a team they will definitely get at least Fitzgerald elected with a strong chance that Keating will follow her over the line.

Local Labour councillor Robert Dowds could well end up in a scrap with Keating for the final seat with transfers from a variety of locations to decide the result.

Sinn Fein can't be ruled out either as their candidate Joanne Spain took over 9pc of the vote last time. On this occasion they are running Eoin O Broin.

Local activists Gino Kelly and Robert Connolly are flying under the United Left Alliance banner while there are four other independents along with Mick Finnegan of the Workers' Party.

PREDICTION: Frances Fitzgerald (FG), Joanna Tuffy (Lab), Derek Keating (FG) and John Curran (FF)

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