This 5 seat constituency replaced the old Dublin North. It is augmented by the addition of over 17,000 people from Swords who were formerly in Dublin West. Clare Daly who is closely associated with Wexford TD Mick Wallace and running under his ‘Independents for Change’ banner is a safe bet to be the first elected here. The first shoots of the rebirth of Fianna Fáil in Dublin will see Darragh O’Brien re-elected following a five year sojourn in the Seanad. Minister for Children James Reilly is the strongest of the Fine Gael candidates and his seat should be reasonably safe. There will be hard fought battle between Fine Gael’s second TD Alan Farrell, Sinn Féin trade unionist Louise O’Reilly and Labour TD Brendan Ryan for the final two seats. Joe O’Brien of the Green Party should also perform strongly but is likely to fall short of regaining Trevor Sargent’s old seat.
Watch out for: Clare Daly has a running mate in Cllr. Mick Barry. While he is unlikely to take a seat, the attempt at implementing a vote divide strategy like a grown up party will be interesting.
Our prediction: Clare Daly (Independents for Change), Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fáil), James Reilly (Fine Gael), Louise O’Reilly (Sinn Féin) and Brendan Ryan (Labour).
Dublin Mid West
In 2011 three of the four outgoing TDs in this constituency lost their seats. It’s looking increasingly likely that this will be repeated for the outgoing class of 2016. Like many Dublin constituencies this one will go right down to the wire. Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin should be comfortably elected on this occasion and will immediately become a high profile member of his party’s front bench. Also safe is Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald of Fine Gael. Two distinct competitions will evolve for the final seat. Joanna Tuffy of Labour may struggle to hold off the challenge of the AAA-PBP’s Gino Kelly. The final seat will be a battle between Fianna Fáil’s John Curran and Fine Gael’s Derek Keating. Curran may be a direct beneficiary of the late resurgence in Fianna Fáil to take a Dublin seat that few pundits predicted before the start of this campaign.
Our prediction: France Fitzgerald (Fine Gael), Eoin Ó Broin (Sinn Féin), Joanna Tuffy (Labour) and John Curran (Fianna Fáil)
For many years Dublin South was a five seat constituency. The constituency commission has radically altered this area by moving almost 14,000 people to Dun Laoghaire and over 39,000 into Dublin South West. The remaining territory encompassing Ballinteer, Churchtown, Clonskeagh, Dundrum and Stillorgan has been renamed as Dublin Rathdown. Four outgoing TDs will fight for the 3 seats currently on offer. Only Shane Ross, the leading figure of the Independent Alliance will be confident of being returned. Fine Gael won three seats in the old five seater and will be hopeful of returning two on this occasion though the battle between two legal eagles, newcomer Josepha Madigan and old hand Alan Shatner to claim the party’s guaranteed seat will be intense. Labour Minister Alex White is likely to be one of the more high profile casualties of the Labour meltdown. Recent ill health was thought to have taken former Fine Gael TD Peter Matthew out of the limelight and affected his chances of election as an independent, but by all accounts he is still faring well. Fianna Fáil’s selection of unconventional Senator Mary White came a surprise to many. Her presence on the campaign trail added colour and energy within the constituency. However it is unlikely to provide Fianna Fáil an opportunity to win back the seat in what was once fertile territory. The Green Party have been climbing in polls over the past months and Cllr. Catherine Martin may well be best placed to challenge Fine Gael for the final seat. In a battle for transfers she will attract support from all sides and Green success may be one of the talking points in this election.
Watch out for: The Green Party is up to 4% in many national opinion polls. This constituency may be the one that rewards their resilience.
Our prediction: Shane Ross (Independent Alliance), Alan Shatter (Fine Gael), Catherine Martin (Green Party)
Dublin South Central
This constituency has long enjoyed a reputation as being one of the most left leaning in the country. 4 of the 5 TDs elected in 2011 were from the left or centre left. Even Fine Gael’s Catherine Byrne would be seen as being one of the more left leaning members of her party. In this election areas around Terenure and Kimmage have been moved to Dublin Bay South and one seat has been lost turning it into a four seater. This should further enhance the left wing profile of Dublin South Central. It is a constituency where Sinn Féin’s local election results would have given hope they may secure two seats, however the presence of a number of high profile hard left candidates is likely to see Maire Devine squeezed out. The need to watch for opponents on its left flank will become a recurring theme for Sinn Féin in the future as it moves more and more to the main stream.
Our prediction: Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael), Aengus O Snodaigh (Sinn Féin), Brid Smith (AAA-PBP) and Joan Collins (Independents for Change)
Dublin South West
The addition of over 39,000 people from Rathfarnham and Firhouse formerly in Dublin South has given this constituency a distinctly more middle-class complexion and an extra seat. The Labour Party won 2 seats here in 2011. The retirement of Pat Rabbitte and the decision of Eamon Maloney to leave Labour for the independent ranks means that the sole Labour candidate Pamela Kearns will struggle to hold a seat. Paul Murphy is the most recognisable face of the Anti-Austerity Alliance and should hold his seat with ease. He will vie with Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe to top the poll. Fine Gael will struggle to regain its seat, lost in a bye-election following Brian Hayes election to the European Parliament. However Cllr. Colm Brophy will also benefit from the increased middle class vote. High profile independent Senator Katherine Zappone, who rose to national prominence during recent referendum campaigns, will benefit from Labour weakness but is unlikely to edge out Sinn Féin’s Sarah Holland for the fifth seat. Not winning two seats here would be a big disappointment for Sinn Féin.
Our prediction: Sean Crowe (Sinn Féin), Paul Murphy (AAA-PBP), John Lahart (Fianna Fáil), Colm Brophy (Fine Gael) and Sarah Holland (Sinn Féin)
Minister for Health, Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar is the prince of the constituency but in the current climate will not be able to carry in his running mate Senator Catherine Noone.
A widely reported opinion poll recently purported to show Labour Party Leader Joan Burton losing her seat. Should this occur it will be the third election in a row that the outgoing Tánaiste fails to be re-elected. That will be a major fall from grace for a woman who was the first TD elected to the 31st Dáil in 2011. In 2011, this constituency was also notably the only one in Dublin to elect a Fianna Fáil TD. Brian Lenihan’s death resulted in the first of 2 bye-elections in the constituency. Fianna Fáil lost of the seat initially to Labour. Following Patrick Nulty’s resignation a second bye-election was won by Ruth Coppinger of the Anti Austerity Alliance. Cllr. David McGuinness was the Fianna Fáil candidate in both bye-elections, fighting ably to represent a party still toxic to many eyes. His two second place finishes was not enough to see him rewarded with selection to contest this election, with Fianna Fáil members jilting McGuinness in favour of the more affluent Jack Chambers. Chambers’ family enjoys close links with the Lenihan organisation in Castleknock and it is believed that a representative from the middle class area of the constituency will provide the best opportunity for Fianna Fáil to win back a seat. McGuinness now running as part of the Independent Alliance is likely to taste disappointment again. Sinn Féin have steadily grown support in the constituency. The party, narrowly missed out in the last bye-election, topping the poll before being overtaken by Ruth Coppinger of the AAA and Fianna Fáil’s McGuinness. With four seats on offer, Sinn Féin should secure one without the need to rely on transfers from elsewhere.
The final seat will be a battle between Ruth Coppinger of the AAA and Tánasite Joan Burton. Despite polling evidence to the contrary we’re plumping with Joan to hold on by the narrowest of margins.
Watch out for: Updates about Joan Burton’s battle to hold her seat will be compulsive viewing on count day.
Our prediction: Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael), Paul Donnelly (Sinn Féin), Jack Chambers (Fianna Fáil) and Joan Burton (Labour)