Fianna Fail and the 2014 Local Elections October 22, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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.