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Fianna Fail the big winners from the Constituency Commission Report June 22, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Irish Politics.

A lot of the initial media reaction to the Constituency Commission report naturally focused on the massive changes in Dublin and focused on individual TDs votes and areas of support being moved. It didn’t really focus on what parties would benefit from it. I did a small piece on the Left TDs and now a bit on the rest.
Looking at the Constituency Commission report the big winners are Fianna Fail. Not neccessarily in the nuances of population shifts from Constituency to Constituency but in the reduction of the number of 3 seaters and unification of the likes of Kerry and Tipperary where they have no seats at all.
Were an election to be held on the figures from 2011 with the new boundaries Fianna Fail could expect to easily pick up seats in the new five seat Kerry and Tipperary constituencies and the new four seat Sligo Leitrim. Its even concieveable that the new five seat Dublin Fingal and Dublin Bay North would return Fianna Fail candidates. The addition of some of the leafier parts of Dublin Central should help to regain a seat in Dublin West. Indeed the addition of a good deal of Foxrock and Cabinteely to Dun Laoghaire may well help Mary Hanafin there.
Where seats have been reduced there is danger of a seat loss in Cork South Central but other reductions such as Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo and Galway East should have no impact on their seat numbers (although the partys TDs may be different)

For Labour outside of Dublin the only TD in peril from the changes would be Colm Keaveney, who in the reduced Galway East will have lost a good bit of his vote. Ciaran Lynch in the reduced Cork South Central is being mentioned as a loser but on 2011 figures he’d be fine. Ditto Alan Kelly in Tipperary who loses some of his base to Offaly but again on 2011 figures he should be okay. That’s not to say that they are safe come the next election.

Its in Dublin though where Labour could suffer badly and again based on 2011 figures and the boundary changes a number will be in trouble. Alex Whites area in Dublin South is now in Dublin South West which already has two Labour TDs. Then in the reduced Dublin South Central Eric Byrne or Michael Conagahan could be in danger and possibly two out of Sean Kenny, Tommy Broughan and Aodhan O’Riordan in the new Dublin Bay North. Even Joe Costello in Dublin Central may have lost a good deal of his vote. Again that’s all before we even get to the next election where Constituency Commission or No Constituency Commission Labour will lose seats.

For Fine Gael the report doesn’t make great reading either.  On 2011 figures the changes would result in seat losses in Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo with a number of places like Kerry, Tipperary, Cork South Central, Galway East, Roscommon-Galway also likely to have reduced numbers of Fine Gael TDs.

In Dublin the changes in Dublin Central would put Paschal Donohoe in danger , they probably would have held the two seats they currently hold in Dublin NC and Dublin NE in the new Dublin Bay North but Catherine Byrne may have been in trouble in a reduced Dublin South Central and at least one of the three TDs elected for Dublin South would be gone.

As for Sinn Fein, well on the 2011 results it makes little impact on the seats they actually won. The only real difference being that Larry O’Toole may have been elected in the five seat Dublin Bay North.

The Greens wont be thrilled with Dublin South butchered and with Dun Laoghaire in effect down to 3 their chances in those places of a seat are all but gone. Dublin Bay South could be an outside bet with the new Dublin Fingal a decent bet were Trevor Sargent to run.

As for the other Independent TDs not covered already. Stephen Donnelly and Mick Wallaces Wicklow and Wexford are pretty much the same. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan should be okay, and oddly enough was downprotesting with Turf Cutters in the part of East Galway that is now in his constituency the night before the report came out.
Shane Ross should be OK in a 3 seat Dublin Rathdown although you never know. Noel Grealish seems to get in no matter what he does. In Kerry Michael Healy Rae at the very South of the constituency and Tom Fleming may well struggle. With surely 1 FF, 1 SF , 1 Labour and at least 1 FG seat its hard to see either getting in.
In Tipperary Michael Lowry will surely sail home but Mattie McGrath (Like Seamus Healy) will be vulnerable.

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1. steve white (@lostexpectation) - June 22, 2012

averil power she’s from a certain class http://electionleaflets.mygov.ie/leaflets/235/

2. Logan - June 22, 2012

With the likes of Alan Kelly, intra-transfers suddenly become important. The question at the next election is whether he gets enough transfers from the southern Tipp Labour candidate to keep him ahead of Healy.
Personally I think the Labour candidates in Tipp will be doing well to equal Healy’s votes between them next time round, never mind how well they transfer.

irishelectionliterature - June 23, 2012

With Phil Prendergast gone to Europe I presume Denis Landy would be in the running to be on the Labour ticket although I do think it would be foolish for them to run two candidates there.
Although Kelly has lost some of his hinterland , he does have the advantage of the profile he gained from being an MEP, although that gloss may well be gone by 2016.

3. Logan - June 22, 2012

Meant to say “intra-party transfers” in the above.

4. gabbagabbahey - June 22, 2012

“with Dun Laoghaire in effect down to 3″ – isn’t that only if Sean Barrett takes up his ‘free’ seat again, which might be unlikely since he came out of retirement to be elected CC? I’m assuming it’s not transferable to anyone else.

if it was only three, that would be between 2 FG, 1 Lab and 1 ULA (or putatively FF – not sure how Foxrock/Cabinteely would go there rather than FG though)… somehow I can’t imagine either there being two broad-left TDs in Dun Laoghaire, or Gilmore losing his seat (unless Lab end up with a Greens-like collapse, which might be just desserts for their posturing)… so bad for RBB. but more likely all four would be in play?

5. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 22, 2012

I agree with that analysis overall – the new 5 seaters should represent opportunities for FF gains and there are only a handful of boundary spoilers for the party. Having said that at a micro level certain population transfers may adversely affect particular candidates. I agree Trevor Sargent is the Green white hope for Dublin Fingal. I would like to see him make it back actually. Always came across like the real deal. Re DL if I was a betting man (which I am) I wouldn’t be placing too much money on ex-Ministers being future candidates. I’ve seen this presumption made elsewhere too and it surprises me.

irishelectionliterature - June 23, 2012

Thats interesting would have thought Barry Andrews at least would still be in the frame, although I presume it depends a lot if he runs in the Local Elections. Mary Hanafin still has a sizeable personal vote out there too.
Am I correct that Aine Brady was selected as a local elections candidate recently? Would you expect many ex TDs and senators who lost their Dail seats the last time around to run in the Local Elections ?

6. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

Well there will be individual cases but I can’t see any en masse return. Certain individuals have made noises alright but the members will have the final say and there are several capable and brand new candidates emerging almost everywhere. I think conventions will be highly competitive and my money would be on a step change and a slate of new faces next time out. Aine was indeed appointed a local rep for Clane area recently but bear in mind she only entered the Dail in 2007. I was appointed local rep myself last week in the next door Naas area.

que - June 23, 2012

“my money would be on a step change”

Aspiring FF candidates should be told “Make sure you put money in a non-brown envelope”. Many a good man(snigger) was sunk because he couldnt plausibly so no I didnt receive a brown envelope.

That’d be a hell of a step change

Mark P - June 23, 2012

Imagine the degree of shamelessness it must take to publicly reveal yourself as a Fianna Fail representative.

que - June 23, 2012

you’d need some wheel barrow to carry them brass balls

7. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

Just on the local elections, I think that could be a path back for ex-TDs who contest and come back “the hard way”. I think those that follow that path and are sucessful will earn a certain kudos with both the party and the public for doing so. I just wouldn’t be automatically pencilling in former incumbents into Dail tickets around the country as some commentators appear to do in these discussions. The only constant in life is change and in politics that must be exponential.

8. Jim Monaghan - June 23, 2012

So a new generation of careerists are going to save FF. Having destroyed the country you would think they would hang their heads in shame. Lenihan was the Laval of Irish politics. He saved the bondholders and let the poor pay.It was sort of like the annunities campaign but in reverse.Our grandchildren will be paying for this.Instead of a nice little country with say a Danish or Dutch living standard we will be a glorified Corsica.I did not mention Cowan because he was probably under the weather while it as going on.as for the rest of them I will restrain my self. My father was FF and a friend of Mick Hilliard, both of them would be rolling in their graves at what FF did to Ireland. At least I never voted or gave a preference to them.
I suppose like the Greek New Democracy they will attempt to slide out of their responsibility for the mess.

9. Jim Monaghan - June 23, 2012

I forgot to ask. hat would be the position of the near losers undr the new arrangement. I remember at least 2 SFers came close last tme.

smiffy - June 23, 2012

I guess that depends on whether it’s the party or person who attracted the votes, and whether they’ll run next time. I’m thinking particularly of perpetual runner-up Larry O’Toole, out in Dublin North East. Would he run again and, if so, would he have a chance in Dublin North Bay (not much support in North Central, where Finian McGrath scoops it up)? And if he steps down, who’ll take his place?

Similarly, of the three Labour incumbents between the two constituencies, two of them are already retirement age (good old Labour, always planning ahead). They’re bound to run at least two candidates, but other than O Riordan (who I assume is a given) would either Broughan or Kenny run again? If not, Cian O’Callaghan might be an option (and should gain in profile in at least part of the constituency from his election as Fingal mayor) but whether the leadership would be keen to see him run, who knows?

Fianna Fail must be relatively confident of gaining back a seat here, with Averil Power (but will they run two, or more?).

And short of a meltdown, Fine Gael must be hopeful of holding both Bruton and Flanagan’s seats.

It’s a long way off, but this will be a difficult one, for Labour particularly.

10. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

@Jim I’m not sure what makes them careerists, at least any more so than any aspiring public representatives of any other party. In fact if they were actually careerists maybe they would choose a different party to the one that just suffered a catalysmic collapse and is still facing huge hurdles on the road back. If they were careerists surely ipspo facto they would be already looking for the next bandwagon. Though anecdotal evidence does suggest that type have already moved on and good riddance to them.

@que The only brown envelopes I’ve ever seen were on the shelves in Easons. And as regards cash in politics I’ve spent a small amount of it (incidental logistics, phone, petrol etc) but I’ve certainly never made any of it, nor do I want to. If I’m ever fortunate enough to be elected to anything I will draw whatever is the wage but to be perfectly frank if it was money I was after I’d stick to my current career. More sociable hours and better terms of employment.

Mark P - June 23, 2012

Your just a selfless soul, James, intent on bringing the unique political philosophy of Fianna Fail back to the forefront of Irish politics. You shameless gobshite.

11. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

Thanks for your own unique insight Mark. It’s a political blog. We can talk politics or we can trade insults. I’ll stick to the former anyway.

Mark P - June 23, 2012

Why don’t you tell us what exactly Fianna Fail stand for that would inspire a thrusting young turk like yourself to want to stand for them?

12. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

A “thrusting young turk”?! I’ve been called worse I suppose. Mainly Mark because it’s a Saturday evening, I’m not in the mood for a row and I’m pretty sure WHATEVER I said would be instantly derided.

Mark P - June 23, 2012

A minute ago you were all about talking politics. Perhaps you should spend your evening pondering why exactly anything you say about your political philosophy, and the unique contribution of Fianna Fail, would result in instant derision.

13. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

Mark none of your contributions to this post have dealt with the subject matter. I’ve an interest in politics of course. But this post isn’t about me and I’m not going to accede to every engagement on this blog becoming a demand for justification. And I don’t exactly need to ponder on your last point.

Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2012

James – cloud cuckoo land. The three FF local election candidates from 2009 in my area have all left the party, one joining FG and the other two waiting with bated breath for McDowell or Ganley or Ross to form a new party. Indeed FF have fewer members in the town than the Socialist Party – which is saying something given that they had a majority of the council seats not that long ago.

14. que - June 23, 2012

Fair play to you James your in the old mould. Was it Bertie or Charlie or any of the other hundreds of delinquents who inspired you.

A proud legacy the FFs have. It will never be left to the side so get used of it.

15. James Lawless (@lawlessj) - June 23, 2012

@que I am well used to it!

@Jolly red giant is that a Dublin area? Have to say I wouldn’t have much time for someone who just folded their towel when things got rough. Were they just in the party to get elected then? I don’t know the individuals so my remarks are made in general but I think it says a lot about those that put their hands up when only ashes remained. I’ve seen people who’d left in disillusionment up to decades hence come back to rejoin the renewal as a once in a political lifetime chance to restore their party to what it had once been.

Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2012

Not Dublin and smack bang in the middle of FF heartland. These guys were all die in the wool FFers who realised the game was up. MM even visited the town recently and was gone in 10 minutes

16. steve white (@lostexpectation) - June 23, 2012

there is no clean slate for FF

Oireachtas Retort - June 23, 2012

It was privatised under the bailout terms I think

17. Joe - June 25, 2012

I read in today’s Guardian that the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate is set to win the Mexican presidential election. Ten plus years in the wilderness for Mexico’s FF, which ran the country for 70 odd years, and now they are on the way back. Would not be at all surprised if the same happened here.

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