some reckon she might be leader-in-waiting but Labour’s Joan Burton has a serious issue on her doorstep.
The party could soon find itself without a TD in the Dublin-West constituency after the next general election following a disastrous weekend for the party.
While they enjoyed remarkable success in 2011, all Labour supporters were brought back to earth with a bang with the collapse in the by-election.
While party sources never expected candidate Loraine Mulligan to be in the running, they were confident her vote would be maximised by the staunch support of sitting minister Joan Burton.
However, Ms Mulligan finished in a miserable seventh place prompting fears that Ms Burton herself will be fighting for her seat at the next general election.
The Labour Party secured just short of 30pc of the vote in the 2011 general election which almost ensured the election of Patrick Nulty alongside Ms Burton.
But Mr Nulty went on to top the poll just over eight months later following a by-election prompted by the death of former minister Brian Lenihan.
Labour’s vote in Dublin West has now shrunk. Ms Mulligan, the party chairperson, secured just over 1,500 first preference votes and was outpolled by the Green Party’s Roderic O’Gorman.
Sources in the party say she was privately “devastated” at the result which came during a dismal day for the party nationwide.
But others expressed sympathy for the SIPTU worker and pointed out that she was “parachuted” into Dublin West.
The by-election in the end was comfortably won by Socialist candidate Ruth Coppinger, despite a strong showing by Sinn Fein’s Paul Donnelly.