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Fianna Fail and the 2014 Local Elections October 22, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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In 2009 Fianna Fail polled around 25% of the vote.

In an ideal world Michael Martin wants to run young candidates and females (Gender quotas are coming too) to build a base for the next general election. A new Fianna Fail ticket untainted by the party’s previous involvement in government and the failed policies that wrecked the country for years to come.
In 2009 Fianna Fail polled a then record low of 25%, many thought that was their core vote, it wasn’t and more slipped away as they fell to 17.4% in last years General Election.
The one thing about these two elections was that there was a definite ‘anyone but Fianna Fail (and the Greens)’ theme to voters. That theme is still there, although not as bad as it was in 2011, the thing is that there will also be an anyone but Labour and indeed anyone but Fine Gael vote out there. So we may well see a more polarized electorate ,especially in relation to transfers. In 2009 Labour were big winners on transfers, they wont get as many now. This will be beneficial to Fianna Fail as by fielding fewer candidates than they did in 2009 , they will be in a better position to win seats.
In 2009 in many areas Fianna Fail fielded way too many candidates and the party actually had quotas but because of transfer leakage and lack of transfers failed to win seats in many places.
So as mentioned at the outset one of the main aims of the Local Elections will be to get decent candidates for the next General Election. Especially in Dublin where the party lacks a single TD.
One of the things from the General Election was the lack of new blood for Fianna Fail in the Dail, this in turn meant a lack of new blood for FF in the Councils.
The changes to Local Government recently proposed by Phil Hogan is likely to see more Council seats for Dublin. Now there are no indications yet if there will be new Local Electoral Areas or if additional seats will be given to existing Local Electoral Areas. If it is additional seats then Fianna Fail should benefit. Between the 4 local authorities in Dublin, in 2009 Fianna Fail candidates were beaten for the last seat in seven of the LEAs.
The bigger picture is of course the Dail. After the Constituency Commission Report there are 11 constituencies in Dublin and one Fianna Fail Councillor, in David McGuinness that is a decent bet for a Dail seat. Senators Averil Power and Darragh O’Brien will have their eyes on seats too.
So assuming that Fianna Fail only run one candidate in each Dail constituency (They’d be foolish to run more) that leaves 8 constituencies in Dublin looking for candidates.
That’s all very well except there are a raft of former Fianna Fail TDs John Curran, Sean Haughey, Pat Carey, Michael Mulcahy, Barry Andrews, Charlie O’Connor and Mary Hanafin who might want to run again in the next General Election.
Would they be prepared to run in the Local Elections? Its likely that they will have to. (Some of the above have already indicated that they will run).
The same can be said countrywide, would former TDs and former Ministers be willing to stand in the Local Elections to show that they still have it electorally?
(The Greens also have a similar issue in that they probably need their former TDs to stand for Council seats such is the lack of Greens on County and City Councils).
Overall Fianna Fail will lose seats but probably not that many. The problem as mentioned above is getting new young candidates elected which is a tough ask especially first time out electorally.
In Dublin in 2009, Fianna Fail ran 31 first time candidates (some of which were co-opted councillors). 5 of them were elected. They were Eoghan O’Brien ( co opted councillor brother of Senator Daragh O’Brien) , Darragh Butler (co opted councillor), Aoife Brennan (daughter of Seamus Brennan),David McGuinness and Eamonn Walsh.

I wonder too will the proposed abolition of Town Councils heighten the ambitions of many existing Town Councillors. It may force them into the field as Independents or cause party tickets to be larger than they should be. If thats the case it will primarily be a problem for Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and will be localised to certain areas.

Carlow – 2009 was bad for Fianna Fail as they dropped 4 seats to win just 4 seats with 27.71% of the vote. They should even on a lower vote hold on to the four seats and could even gain one in Borris

Cavan – Hard to see them holding on to their 8 seats. Will be under pressure from Sinn Fein and Independent candidates. Should return with 6 seats.

Clare – Suffered a big vote drop in 2011, will be hard pushed to hold on to certain seats with seats in Kilrush and Ennistymon particularly at risk. Could return with 8 or 9 seats.

Cork City Council – Won a seat in each ward in 2009. Unlikely that they will win or lose any seats here.

Cork County Council – Even with a 5% drop from 2009 they should hold on to all their seats

Donegal – Likely to lose at least one if not two seats here with seats at risk in every area except Glenties.

Dublin City Council– Made a hames of candidate selection in 2009 as they fielded way too many candidates. Have to be lean on candidate selection and even then may only hold four of their six seats with possible losses in Ballymun-Finglas and Artane- Whitehall. Hard to see any place for an easy gain. *depends of course on if the number of Dublin City Council seats increase , decrease or stay the same

Dun Laoghaire -Rathdown – FF only have 4 seats here and at least two could be in danger. Could gain one in Blackrock but unlikely. Again it depends on if the number of Council seats increase and how they increase.

Fingal – With 4 seats here again one or two may be in danger but probable that they could hold on. Mags Murray probably the most vulnerable in Castleknock

Galway City Council – 3 seats here, likely no change.

Galway County Council – They may actually pick up a seat or two here as Fine Gael over performed here in 2009

Kerry – A Really interesting one this and one wonders would John O’Donoghue or Tom McEllistrim be tempted to run, this despite already having family members on the Council. Likely no change

Kildare – They can afford a drop in vote here and still hold on to their seats. Would probably need to field fewer candidates though to have a prospect of a gain. I gather former TD Aine Brady will be on the party ticket. Again likely no change.

Kilkenny -Again even with a drop in vote they should hold on to their seats. I wonder will Bobby Aylward be tempted to run, although his nephew currently holds a seat.

Laois- Lost 3 seats here in 2009. Should really hold on to all their seats here again, if only just.

Leitrim – Could well lose a seat or two here to Sinn Fein with seats in Carrick on Shannon and Dromahaire in danger.

Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council are another pair due to join up. –In 2011 Fianna Fail won seats in the two Limerick constituencies but fared badly especially in the City in 2009. Wont be as badly impacted seat wise s the other parties from the amalgamation.

Longford – In 2009 The Fianna Fail vote in Longford was steady as they held on to all their seats. Will probably lose at least 1 seat the next time out.

Louth – Fared poorly in 2009 and didn’t do too well in 2011. All seats bar one (Drogheda West) would be safe even with a sizeable drop in support from 2009 levels.

Mayo – There was a big swing to Fine Gael here in 2009 , which reached its zenith in 2011. FF Should hold all their seats but may be in danger of a loss in Castlebar with a possible gain in Claremorris.

Meath – Meath East and Meath West saw massive drops in Fianna Fail support in 2011. Sinn Fein , Labour and Fine Gael all gained. FF are likely to win back a part of the support they lost here. They will also have to field fewer candidates. Likely to remain the same.

Monaghan- FF have just 5 councillors in Monaghan and despite the Castleblaney based Margaret Conlon losing her seat in the General Election its hard to see how they can go any lower than five seats. That said we never thought FF would be wiped out as they were in 2011. The second Carrickmacross seat may be vulnerable.

Offaly- In 2009 this was Cowen Country and the Fianna Fail vote actually went up. It dropped back again in the General Election but Fianna Fail still polled relatively well. There have been some personnel changes with councillors leaving and others joining too. Could struggle to hold seats in Ferbane, Tullamore and Edenderry. Probable drop of 2 seats.

Roscommon – Given the furore over Roscommon Hospital, Fianna Fail may well benefit from a large drop in FG votes and also the FG vote will be split with Ind FG Councillors Domnick Connolly and Lawrence Fallon running. Castlerea will be a target here with John Kelly now a Labour Senator and Ming in the Dail. The Hospital Action Committee (which already has two councillors) will surely do well. So despite everything a possible FF gain here.

Sligo County Council and Sligo Corporation are due to be amalgamated. Cancer Services in Sligo were a big issue here in 2009 and Fianna Fail took a hit losing a number of seats. Polled poorly again in 2011 and may well lose further seats

South Dublin County Council –If the seat numbers stay the same here FF could be in big trouble. They won four seats the last time, one of which John Hannon has since departed in disgrace. Labour did very well here the last time and its likely Sinn Fein will pick up a good bit of that vote. Without seat increases could win just two seats. However if there are seat increases then could win a seat in each LEA.

Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding –Due to be reunited in 2014 and presumably there will be a reduction in the overall number of councillors. Will probably lose a seat or two but so will everyone else.

Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council- Another place where we will see two Local Authorities amalgamate. How many Council seats are lost because of it remains to be seen. If for instance each LEA is reduced by 1 seat and the three Waterford City Wards combined to make two wards, then Fianna Fail should hold on just about. Maybe a seat in Comeragh could be in danger.

Westmeath – Fared alright here in 2009 and Robert Troy was one of the few new Fianna Fail faces elected to the Dail in 2011. In 2009 they ran too many candidates in Kilbeggan. Will find it hard to regain Boxer Morans seat in Athlone and could lose one in Coole but could win one in Kilbeggan. Probable 1 seat loss.

Wexford – Again a big drop from 2009 support levels in 2011 but should hold on to all their seats but will be under pressure in New Ross.

Wicklow – FF fared poorly here in the 2011 General Election. However they could still possibly pick up a seat in Greystones, Given that they comfortably won their existing seats they seem unlikely to lose any.

Previous pieces on the prospects of  The ULA  and Sinn Fein.

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Comments»

1. doctorfive - October 22, 2012

Good stuff

John O’Donoghue also keen throw his hat (hired) back into the ring. Unclear if he plans to run or be chauffeured

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2. DJ - October 22, 2012

It’s an interesting analysis… But… there are major boundary changes on the way, so It’s hard to say what will happen before we see the Boundary Commission carve-up…. Though one point is that the the candidate-cap rule is really only applicable to Urban/suburban Ireland… you run too few candidates in rural Ireland and you risk being punished by the parish….

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3. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - October 23, 2012

In Clare FF might pick up a few seats, maybe enough to regain control of the council (might be a bit of a longshot on current polling). The decision to select candidates through interview was probably most the unpopular in Clare of all places. FF were still able to get the highest vote in 2009, although FG got the most seats. 2011 vote drop was largely due to retirement of Killeen and the fact that Dooley is not liked within sections of FF locally.

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4. WorldbyStorm - October 23, 2012

For some reason I’d assumed FF almost inevitably would pick up seats in Dublin. Very telling if they’re not able to pick up and suggests that their ‘comeback’ is built – at least in the capital – on shakier ground than some would have us think.

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irishelectionliterature - October 23, 2012

There’s quite a gap between their 2009 performance (and larger parties tend to fare worse in Local than National Elections) and their 2011 performance.
To be back at their 2009 support levels would be a jump of 8% from last years election. Not impossible but would be quite a turnaround in the partys fortunes.

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5. anarchaeologist - October 23, 2012

I don’t reckon they’ve much chance of regaining control of Clare CoCo on the basis of conversations I’ve had with older die-hards in the east of the county. Timmy is well disliked, even in the village where he lives, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him blanked in the local shop where previously there’d have been lots of hand shaking and ‘I knew your father well’ s. There seem to be few young ‘uns on the way up and it’s surprising that SF are not sniffing around the more rural areas as they are in Donegal SW.
Local FFers in Dublin 8 have been off the streets for the past few years and I can’t really see them making any gains here. On the basis of the complete uselessness of Byrne (Eric) and Connaghton (the LP deputies) and the total absence of Rebecca Moynihan there’s a lot of room here for PbP/SWP to fill the gap, where again the Shinners appear to have few people on the ground.
Just clocked your moniker now TORR!

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6. Blissett - October 23, 2012

Good analysis. I think there is a point in that it will be hard to analyse LEA by LEA until we see what any boundary commission comes up with, but broadly accurate pic.

“Though one point is that the the candidate-cap rule is really only applicable to Urban/suburban Ireland… you run too few candidates in rural Ireland and you risk being punished by the parish….”

To be honest thats a bit of a nonsense. It is of course possible to run too many candidates in rural areas, and there are numerous examples in the last locals. SF in connemara is a good example. Equally failure to cover your bases in the city can be punished as well. Iv often heard people talk about the need for a candidate to get the Gurranbraher vote out, and the fact that Ballyfermot will vote for a Ballyfermot candidate.

This is some of that thing that country people are supposed to be lumpen parish pump types who only vote for a chap when they knew their grandfather etc etc. Dubs and people from other urban areas can be as equally parochial

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PaddyM - October 23, 2012

The reduction in seats in the rural counties, combined with larger electoral areas, could actually increase the incentive to vote locally. A county council candidate based fifteen or twenty miles away is not going to be viewed as “local” in any meaningful sense of the word.

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DJ - October 23, 2012

Of course it’s possible to run too many candidates in rural areas – but the rules are different from urban areas. In urban areas, you’d use a similar candidate-cap rule to that which you would in general elections. Bailieborough (Cavan) is a prime example – there are five identifiable sub-areas (Cootehill, Shercock, Kingscout, Bailieborough and the rural South-West) – FG and FF ran one candidate each in each of those areas, McDonald of Sinn Fein was the only candidate who polled decently im more than one area.

You are correct in what you say that the likes of Ballyfermot and Gurranebraher might also vote “pariochally” – you do tend to see more distinct vote patterns in established working-class communities, but it’s got nothing to do with characterising country people (me included) as “lumpen parish pump types” – it simply reflects that people in rural areas tend to make their choices from the sub-list of candidates known to them…

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sonofstan - October 23, 2012

The essential difference between localism in rural and urban areas is to do with the obvious essential difference between them: population density. A ‘local’ candidate in Cavan, say one based within 10 miles of you, may only have another 1000 voters to call local, so the next 100 sq mile area will need another candidate to be the ‘local’ candidate and so on – but each local area may not be quite enough on its own to elect a councillor. Whereas a local candidate in Ballyfermot will have maybe 20,000 ‘local’ voters to call on. To put it another way: SDCC has a electorate 3 times that of Cavan CoCo, but far fewer discrete ‘local’ areas.

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7. DJ - October 23, 2012

One thing I will say though… the local government reforms may be a bit easier on Fianna Fail than it will be on Fine Gael or Labour due to their representation on Town Councils…. Take for example Athy in County Kildare (which on current boundaries will have 6 seats next time round….) – On the current county council it stands FF 1 FG 2 LAB 1… on Athy UDC it’s FF 2 FG 2 LAB 4 SF 1….excluding dual mandates, that’s 3 Fianna Fail councillors, 3 Fine Gael Councillors and 4 Labour Councillors in 2014 in a six-seater area – and that’s before you starting adding in new-blood candidates. *FF were originally on 2 – John Lawlor (ex-FF and LAB) rejoined FF last year….

On a totally separate note, the Labour Councillors include Tom Redmond, who came 18th out of 18 in 2009 in Athy UDC yet still took the last seat by 2 votes. Which is, well, pretty unique.

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8. Daniel Sullivan - October 26, 2012

“In 2009 Fianna Fail polled around 25% of the vote.” it should be noted that they were actually polling higher than that up to polling day. I seem to recall them being on around 31/33% in most opinion polls.

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PaddyM - October 26, 2012

31/5/2009 (RedC): FG 34 FF 21 Lab 18 SF 10 GP 3 Oth 12
29/5/2009 (MRBI): FG 36 Lab 23 FF 20 SF 8 GP 3 Oth 10

(from http://www.guthanphobail.net/.

FF were last at 30 in a RedC poll published at the end of November 2008.

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DJ - October 26, 2012

Paddy M is correct – it has to be remembered that the above polls would have been polling General Election voting intention…. there most likely was an incumbency factor which bucked up FF’s performance in the 2009 locals….

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9. Fianna Fail lining up former TDs to run in the next local elections… « Slugger O'Toole - January 7, 2013

[...] 2009  the party polled a record low of just 25%. A record that is until just two years later when it scraped the bottom of the barrel with a paltry [...]

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