Sinn Fein’s southern breakthrough on the cards?

It looks like Sinn Fein has timed it’s breakthrough moment to perfection. At ten per cent in the current poll they would appear to be a bouyant position. Some reports suggested a doubling of their Dail representation would indicate substantial progress. Fionnan Sheahan notes that the party reckons that there are eight key candidates that we should keep an eye on come election night. If all came over the finish line, that’s a nice crop of 13 TDs, which would represent a huge increase in their share of talent, and a substantial drop in the age profile of the southern parliamentary party.

Padraig MacLochlainn, Donegal North-East:

“Sinn Fein insiders regard him as the party’s best all-round candidate in the whole country”.

Pearse Doherty, Donegal South-West:

“FF Ministers Mary Coughlan and Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher are looking over their shoulders”.

Larry O’Toole, Dublin North-East:

“FF’s two seats in this constituency, held by Michael Woods and Martin Brady, look shaky. If the tide goes out for FF, O’Toole will replace one of this pair”.

Mary-Lou McDonald, Dublin Central:

“Sinn Fein is throwing its organisational weight behind the Dublin MEP in Bertie Ahern’s backyard. The common misconception is that it’s only the Fianna Fail second seat, being sought by the Taoiseach’s running mate that is in the firing line, but tell that to Independent Tony Gregory and Labour’s Joe Costello. She poses a considerable threat to Fianna Fail”.

Dessie Ellis, Dublin North-East:

“Just like O’Toole, Ellis is in a prime position to win this time but also knows the party hierarchy will drop him if he fails. If he builds on Sinn Fein’s vote in the local elections he will pose a genuine threat to FF’s Pat Carey. Minister Noel Ahern and Labour’s Roisin Shortall will be watching nervously”.

Joanne Spain, Dublin Mid-West:

“None of the parties can really gauge how the seats will fall in this area as the constituency is only in existence for the past five years”.

David Cullinane, Waterford:

“FF’s Ollie Wilkinson and Labour’s Brian O’Shea are perceived as weaker but have enough to hang on”.

John Dwyer, Wexford:

“From his New Ross base, Dwyer would have to get ahead of FF’s Sean Connick to be in with a chance of winning”.

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  • Glensman

    Any chance of a list of the 8 candidates Mick? for those of us not subscribed…

  • Declan Murphy

    I predicted this about 2 weeks ago. WATCH THIS SPACE! Glensman – See link above for 8 candidates.
    I predict 5 will get in and the 5 already elected will hold onto their seats. Grand total of 10. Hello, who’s that? Bertie calling?

  • MartyM

    Interesting stuff. It may well happen, but there are still all sorts of legacies to be sorted out by the Republican Movement. Last night’s Insight programme may have been a crude re-working of the details in the Stakeknife book four years ago (ie there was little new in it) – but it still raises questions about British involvement inside the Movement at a very high level; and those families of murdered alleged agents could come back to haunt SF.
    SF Ministers in the north (and now possibly in the south) may have to face pickets/protests.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve cut and pasted some of the commentary. Sinn Fein’s record on calling this stuff in advance of elections is mixed. I don’t have a strong enough feel for each constituency to second guess Sheahan on his analysis, but I’m guessing they’ll need to ride a rising national swing to take some of these. And a breaking down of the transfer repellence of previous years.

    One thing does strike me though. If they do do well at the expense of Fianna Fail/independents, and the Labour and Green vote also increase, this could be the emergence of a substantial, social democrat block in the Republic for the first time since independence.

  • J JKelly

    I predict 5 re-elected, Dessie Ellis, Mary Lou, Larry OToole, Padraig and Pearse for def, Joanne Spain, Sean McManus, David Cullinane, John Dywer, Joe Rielly, Johnathon O Brien, Gerry Murray and Daithi Doolin all have a real chance. On a bad day SF will get ten and on a good day 13 and on a really good day maybe 15 or 16. Local politics in every one of these areas will have a factor and the one thing you can say about any of these candidates is that they are involved locally on the ground.

    Paddy Power started two weeks ago offering 13/2 Sinn Fein 13 or more now its down to 3/1 more than halved.

  • Ringo

    Mick – there isn’t enough difference between the core of what you are calling the ‘social democrat block’ and FF or FG to make it in any way cohesive. Labour have had little difficulty in finding common ground with FG, and everyone suspects likewise with FF. Meanwhile SF want a deal with FF. The whole right-left thing just doesn’t mean anything on a macro level in the Dail. Barring one exception (SF/PD) each parties greatest rivals are not across the non-existent right/left divide but their ideological bedfellows.

  • middle-class taig

    J JKelly

    I think you’re being wildly optimistic there. On a bad day for SF, none of those gains are safe. They’re all in 3 or 4-seaters. On a really, really good day, one, maybe two of the others you mention might sneak in (my bets would be Cullinane and Dwyer). No chance of more than 12.

    The real test of SF success in this election will be how many of Murray, Doolan, Spain, O’Brien, etc can make it to “last man standing”, setting up a strong run when the tottering edifice of whichever unstable coalition is cobbled together collapses in 3-4 years’ time. If I were Gerry, I’d be delighted with 9, plus 7 waiting in the wings. That would represent a genuine threat to the cosy status quo in the South.

    I reckon the movement in PaddyPower’s odds reflect, not a SF surge, but misinformed and optimistic nordies backing them.

  • J Kelly

    MCT I see what you are saying but the local polls in Donegal are predicting both seats for Sinn Fein. Donegal Democrat headline today Surge For Sinn Fein. The figures from the last election and the locals indicate that the three Dublin targets are more than winnable. Interesting that you go for Dywer and Cullinane I would say Spain and Mc Manus are the the closest to seat. Lets hope both of us are right.

    If its a bad day for FF and PDs Sinn Fein will gain because I don’t really see the alternative setting the place on fire. Kenny is stiff as a board. The two debates tomorrow and thursday will be interesting.

  • Paul O

    What do you all make of their election site? Not really a blog at all but interesting none the less. I like the insight into the people themselves. Could be a clever approach if enough people look at it!

  • Yokel

    Bertie Calling….

    My arse. isn’t going to happen, despite almost certain gains.

  • On a bad day SF will get ten and on a good day 13 and on a really good day maybe 15 or 16.

    I’d pretty much agree with J J Kelly. To that 10% in the polls add “secret Shinners”, the fact that SF have been bussing their Northern machine down to Dublin every weekend for months, and likely yet another low turnout. That probably means 12-13% on the day, although there’s still time for some movement either way.

  • middle-class taig

    Sammy, you’re tripping. No-one in the south likes the nordie electoral influx. They’ll all be on background stuff – leafleting, postering, etc. And SF won’t get within a hound’s gowl of 13% – I’ll be amazed if they get into double figures.

    On seats, 7 will be a diappointment, 10 a success – 8 or 9, as expected. Note that Ferris is very vulnerable. Expect a big Deenihan (FG) to O’Brian (Lab) transfer. Between the breathalyser and the lack of unfair gardai attention as compared with last time, I can see KN going against Ferris this time.

    The key thing to watch out for chez les Shinners is how many they can get above 0.5 quotas on fpv – ie, within striking distance for next time. If that number is in the 14-18 range, it sets up a possible SF tide for next time (especially after 5 years good government in the North).

  • No-one in the south likes the nordie electoral influx. They’ll all be on background stuff – leafleting, postering, etc.

    Not according to what I know – a lot of them are canvassing as well. And why not? The Northern Shinners are about the best canvassers in Ireland.

    On seats, 7 will be a diappointment, 10 a success – 8 or 9, as expected.

    The boundary commissioners weren’t particularly kind to SF at the last review, which doesn’t help them, especially in North Dublin, but they’re still the most likely beneficiaries of a poor FF performance in Dublin. Also, we know from by-elections and local elections that they usually outperform their national poll rating in the South. Well, not only in the South.

    Their problem down South is still the lack of a Southern leader. Adams looks waaaay out of his depth when talking about domestic policy in the South. McDonald seems to be being groomed for the role – hence the huge efforts in Dublin Central.

    Note that Ferris is very vulnerable. Expect a big Deenihan (FG) to O’Brian (Lab) transfer.

    He survived the drink driving scare. I actually think he’ll top the poll again, although the margin between topping the poll and defeat is nearly always narrow in this constituency. With no Spring on the ballot paper, no-one really knows what will happen to the Labour vote. But I wouldn’t rate O’Brien’s chances all that highly, given how poorly Labour did in the locals outside Tralee (and 17% in your best LEA is not a spectacular platform in a three seater).

    The key thing to watch out for chez les Shinners is how many they can get above 0.5 quotas on fpv – ie, within striking distance for next time.

    Sure that’s important but it doesn’t ipso facto stop them winning seats. The campaign has been fairly lacklustre on all sides, turnout is likely to be low, they’ve had three months of non-stop good news from the North, they are well set up this time.

    What I wouldn’t give to have a look at their canvass data…