Sinn Fein’s ones to watch

With the Leinster House D-Day less than 72 hours away, I thought I’d run down the list of Sinn Fein candidates worth watching when the counting begins on Friday.

Sinn Fein enter the election with 5 TDs, and hopes are obviously high that the number returning will represent a significant advance on that figure. The list I’ve made is from my own observations and stretches from those whose failure to get elected would represent a disappointing turnout for the party to those whose elections would be contingent on a slight underestimation of the party’s expected performance in the polls to date.

For the record, I’m putting my neck on the line and going for a nice figure of 10 seats as a great return for the party; enough to establish Sinn Fein firmly as the fourth largest party in Leinster House and a possible kingmaker in the time ahead.Here’s my list of ones to watch. If you’re a republican (or even someone who can’t stand the sight of us) the election of these individuals will indicate whether or not Sinn Fein are going to make that extra breakthrough this time around.

The Returning Incumbents (1-5)
All 5 of Sinn Fein’s incumbent TDs should prove too strong to be ousted, if the bookies are to be believed.
Caoimhin O’Caolaoin (Cavan/Monaghan- 5 seater)
Arthur Morgan (Louth- 4 seater)
Aengus O’Snodaigh (Dublin SC- 5 seater)
Sean Crowe (Dublin SW- 4 seater)
Martin Ferris (Kerry Nth- 3 seater)

Those ‘Well-Fancied’ (6-10)
Sinn Fein are tipped to take at least one- and by many- two seats in Donegal between the two constituencies, whilst the other heavily fancied candidates are to be found in Dublin.
Mary- Lou McDonald (Dublin Cntrl- 4 seater)
Pearse Doherty (Donegal SW- 3 seater)
Padraig MacLochlainn (Donegal NE- 3 seater)
Larry O’Toole (Dublin NE- 3 seater)
Dessie Ellis (Dublin NW- 3 seater)

The Potential Surprise Outsiders (11-16)
Whilst the party is running candidates in 41 of the 43 constituencies across the state, it is in these six constituencies that the party will stand to benefit in terms of new seats from a slight increase in party support on polling day.
Joe Reilly (Meath West- 3 seater)
Joanne Spain (Dublin Mid-West- 4 seater)
John Dwyer (Wexford- 5 seater)
Jonathan O’Brien (Cork Nth Central- 4 seater)
Sean McManus (Sligo/ West Leitrim- 3 seater)
David Cullinane (Waterford- 4 seater)

  • Chris a chara,

    Your post has an error.

    Daniel Callanan is from Galway.

    Former Ógra activist David Cullinane is the Waterford SF candidate.

  • SuperSoupy

    I would add David Cullinane (Waterford 4 seater) to the outsiders list and maybe Brian Stanley (Laois/Offaly 5 seater) at the very bottom.

  • páid

    Ár ndóigh, dúirt Daniel Callanan nach seasfaidh sé i nGaillimh Thiar, mar gheall nach raibh a dhóthain Ghaeilge aige, i measc cúiseanna eile.

  • Chris Donnelly

    oops- changing that now.


  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    “A great return for the party”

    They may have timed there rise in the Republic’s politics too late – with Grizzly ( their star turn) getting older and the party more mainstream not sure where the appeal for further growth at next election will come from.

  • Paddy

    I believe that the 11-16 seats will probably be too much althoygh I do have a few quid on 11 seats, with Joanne Spain being my 11th seat.

    However I firmly believe that up to 15 are possible next time around depending on how much work is done on the ground and the raising of the profiles of the next generation of candidates.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think some of those in the outsider group might get squeezed if the FF poll rating today was more than than an aberration. I understand Sean MacManus has not been well, and unable to canvass door to door. Big asks in Wexford and Cork North Central (now four seater down from five). Joe Reilly has a chance, but as highlighted in ’05 that constituency split is particularly hard on him.

    Some things should come loose though, and where it doesn’t it will put them into good positions for next time out.

  • Ulick

    Martin Kenny is also looking very strong in Roscommon/South Leitrim.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    If SF got into govt this time with FF the only ‘republican’ policy open to them – which does not require ‘consent’ – would be full voting right to Non Iron MPS but it would be interesting to see how if the other ‘republican party’ FF would agree to this as a price of governement. Then they would not have to wait until next time round to get to 15.

    But of course the now have to take in account what the DUP might do in that event.

  • Máírtáúín

    Slightly off topic, but Mary Harney on Paddy Power is coming in like a steamer on Grand National day to lose her seat : 13-8 11-8 5-4.
    If she goes evens I’m lumpin on big time!

  • Glensman

    Wouldn’t agree with you Ulick, Martin Kenny will likely top the poll in the Liatroim half of the constituency, but he’ll poll very poorly in Roscommon…

  • tok

    make believe !! Sf will most likely not be in government let me remind you work ers party had 10 seats and represented the same demographic if you dont get in to government and dont deliver to the most vulnerable and deprived with a load of promises (which are unrealistic anyway) they wont elect you again . Irish electoral history is full of extreme left groupings that do well in 1 or 2 elections and then fizzle away eg clann na poblachta and wp .fianna fail know this so tactically they wont bring them in as this can eat at their vote lets not forget sf are extremely unpopular among Irish 26 counties electorate anyway only 10 – 12 % of people want to see sf in govt

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not sure that SF has the least intention of staying on the extreme left (in fact, I don’t think you could describe them as that even now. All during the Northern Ireland Assembly election their representatives refused to give a position on corporation tax, at the time in the Republic they wanted it pushed up. Now they seem happy with it at the current lower rate. Then there was the fight with unions over water rates. I suspect like DUP and Trimble they have learned greatly from the WP’s earlier mistakes.

  • Sean Mac

    Let me tell you too – I do have rights – so I’ll not be voting Sinn Fein.

    What are Sinn Fein at with their uncosted policies and publicity campaigns stereotyping what it once used to be like to be rural Irish in a vain attempt to connect with those Irish-conservatives who view a sea-change in Irish life as decadent.

    Sinn Fein seem to be doing the same job the tourist board is doing in that its marketing its policy in line with the stereotypical traditional Ireland including all the little jiggery-pokery Irish music and little traits associated to former cultural-socialism; but, we don’t want this Northern ‘party’ exporting this defined concept into the South as we know what it means to be Irish without Gerry telling us.

    If Sinn Fein do enter Government then the rest of us will have to hold our noses.

  • tok

    Mick their policies as adams showed in the debate are’nt costed very well there is still alot of economic illiteracy ,as you know stormont has very limited power compared to the dail so I know that that comparison is used alot but it is’nt very applicable as stormonts powers are similar to that of a district council rather than a national parliament

  • Keyser Söze

    Would Daithi Doolin not merit a mention as an outside chance for Dublin South East?
    I’ll have a few squid on a double: 11 seats for SF and FF/Labour coalition….

  • tok

    I live in dublin south east Keyser he has been like yourself everybodys heard of him but nobodys seen him. better of betting for rabbite as tanaiste

  • picador

    What are the two constituencies SF are not standing in?

  • Keyser Söze

    think Rabbite will go if the only option is coalition with FF. His demeanor on Q&As last night looked like a man well p*ssed off with the pressures, with the repeated question of FF coalition, with FG making a hames of it, and with the electorate. Wouldn’t be surprised if Richard Bruton was to become Tanaiste……

  • +What are the two constituencies SF are not standing in?

    Posted by picador on May 22, 2007 @ 10:47 AM+

    Kildare South (the land of Alan Dukes) is one of them… they had a candidate who later dropped out. I’ll look for the other constit w/o Shinners, altho’ I won’t be able to get a background.

    I heard that Eoin O’Brion in Dun Laoghaire is ‘one to watch’. I believe he should be familiar to those in Antrim as he was elected there. Some are saying that Aengus OSnodaigh won’t have an easy election altho he should make it.

  • picador

    SF are not standing in Limerick West and Cork North West.

  • Limerick West: Gerry Collins -land and previously had a PD elected in the 3 seater.

    but Cork North West… Macroom and Ballingeary.. I was there in ’81..!! I thought that “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” reflected the republicanism, and history of, in the area lightly. Shurely fertile ground for the Shinners? I think Gerry and Co should add ‘find a Cork NW candidate’ to their ‘list of things to do’ for next year.

  • * Wouldn’t agree with you Ulick, Martin Kenny will likely top the poll in the Liatroim half of the constituency, but he’ll poll very poorly in Roscommon…

    Posted by Glensman on May 22, 2007 @ 08:47 AM*

    agreed that SF’s Martin Kenny will do better in the Leitrim end based on the Ballinamore vote etc, but FF’s Ellis will loose votes from past “dealing” w the farmers and tribunal reports that Haughey gave him public money out of his leader’s expenses!

    Roscommon FF voters, disgruntled with the inclusion of Ellis to the ticket, will have to give preference to someone.

  • Pól

    I reckon 12 Seats. 10 above plus 2 from the following 4


    Trivia question:
    Was the last non council (ie MLA/MP/TD) seat that Sinn Fein lost that of Gerry Adams in 92?

    Cant remember any others. Some are predicting Ferris will lose his seat but I cant see any of the current TDs being in danger.

    I would not rule out FF/SF government as FF know if they get back in this time it will be their last term before 5 years in opposition anyway so they wont be worried about a backlash.

  • Keyser Söze

    I heard that Eoin O’Brion in Dun Laoghaire is ‘one to watch’. I believe he should be familiar to those in Antrim as he was elected there. Some are saying that Aengus OSnodaigh won’t have an easy election altho he should make it.

    Posted by anonymous on May 22, 2007 @ 03:14 PM

    Thought that Eoin O’Broin had left the party but there he is. Was a councillor on Belfast City Council, elected in North Belfast. Highly impressive speaker and knows his stuff. Did alot of work on the ground in North Belfast with regard to community relations and was always there to calm any trouble. Find it strange SF have not made him more prominent, very well educated and articulate. Wonder is the recent suggested tensions between North/South members regarding SF’s move to the centre would involve him, who always struck me as more ideologically left than just set on the national question.

    As for Aengus O’Snodaigh, a strong vote in Crumlin/Kimmage area should see him through easily enough.

  • I believe he should be familiar to those in Antrim as he was elected there.

    Depends what you mean by ‘Antrim’, he was a Councillor for Oldpark Ward in Belfast. He lived in a Housing Executive flat in Artillery Flats and flew the Basque flag from his window.

    One to watch but not in these elections. SF winning a seat in Dun Laoghaire would herald Alliance winning a seat in Mid Ulster, cows milk turning to blood, fire on the moon and other such portents of the end times…

  • Info

    O’Broin is the head of SF’s European Dept and England desk, I think he also has a position on the Ard Chomairle. Along with his book writing and magazine I don’t think he could do much more.

  • Niall

    I’ll go with SF taking 2 extra seats, possibly 3. Roll on the results.

  • Sammy Morse on May 22, 2007 @ 05:47 PM wrote “Depends what you mean by ‘Antrim’, he was a Councillor for Oldpark Ward in Belfast… and flew the Basque flag from his window.. “

    Could you be a bit more exact and give me GPS longitude and latitude !! Thanks for your exact directions but I didn’t think his pin-point location was relevant and therefore, not knowing the precise constituency that he’d been elected to, I deliberately kept it vague. Wood from the trees and all that… I think you need to go on holliers

    “…SF winning a seat in Dun Laoghaire would herald Alliance winning a seat in Mid Ulster, cows milk turning to blood, fire on the moon and other such portents of the end times…

    Its a five seater so anything’s possible. The Shinners got 2,159 first pref votes in 2002 which is about ¼ of a quota and on elimination most transferred to the Greens. DL used be a FG stronghold from the ol’ Kingstown days but the name changed and so has the population.

    Lastly I never pointed to EO’B as one who’ll get elected in the present election, (maybe in the following one) but I was highlighting him as ‘one to watch’ in reference to his many other hats (ie. elected rep in Antrim, position on the Ard Chomairle, writing books, desperate need for a eyebrow waxing etc).

  • Niall

    “DL used be a FG stronghold from the ol’ Kingstown days but the name changed and so has the population.”

    Just to be pedantic (wouldn’t be the first time it happened on this site!) Kingstown changed its name to Dun Laoghaire in 1921, 12 years before the creation of Fine Gael.

  • Niall, thanks for the dates……… but wasn’t Cumman Na Gael set up by Griffith in 1900 to oppose Vicky’s visit at the time of the Boer War?

    Name change doesn’t mean a change in mindset… but the ol’ colonial aspects which dominated DL are now moving into the 21C. I looked online for the discussions about the restoration of the DL bandstand… I think the restoration was accepted by the Shinners but not so much by those who’d be considered west brits. The bandstand celebrated queen Vicky or George of England. This all I could find…

    Bandstand restoration
    Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council recently unveiled its plans for the restoration of the bandstand and shelter on the East Pier. The Council has the legal responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of both structures.
    When the refurbishment has taken place, they will both pass into the care of the Harbour Company which will maintain them in perpetuity.
    The Council put the work out to tender in June and invited applications from competent contractors who have proven experience in the conservation and repair of protected structures to undertake the work.
    The bandstand and shelter were built in the 1890’s.

  • Ian

    “O’Broin is the head of SF’s European Dept”

    So if he doesn’t get elected TD and Mary Lou does, will he be seconded into her MEP post, since she can’t hold both?

  • I think we need some degree of caution here. I would support SF but would not be overly-confident about estimates of 12 or more seats. I think the party will have done really well if they double their representation from 5 seats to 10. It will be sufficient to do well enough in the other constituencies to mount a serious challenge in them next time around…

  • Firinne

    Martin Kenny very much in the running for a TD seat. Martin is polling well everywhere and will take votes right across Roscommon.

    It will all depend on whether Martin Kenny ends up ahead of John Kelly (indp hospital candidate). If he does then Martin will take the seat on transfers from both Kelly (Indpt) and Feighan (FG). Virtually no doubt on that. However, if Martin falls behind then Martin’s vote will largely be redistributed to Ellis (due to Geography) who will then be unassailable. As it stands I think Kenny will poll better than Kelly and will get elected.

    Rumours are that FF HQ consider it ‘likely’ that Kenny will take Ellis’ seat.

    If I am correct, this will be the upset of the election.

    Given the foolish odds offered by the bookies, I have bet on it. I know one person who got 1000 euro at 16-1. Odds now have shortened considerably but still do not reflect an accurate understanding of the dynamics of this election.

  • Fiddle

    Hope Eoin O’Brion gets in. Great chap; good politics. Never knew he was an Antrim man!

    Best of luck to the shinners! 🙂

    Btw, keep dreaming that everyone believes in a neo-liberal consensus boys. The elites might, the vast population certainly don’t. And, if SF are extreme left, then I’m fecking not even on the scale. I’ve always considered them centre left, and they’re certainly moved more central – already! :/

  • Niall


    Just in relation to Dun Laoghaire, that original Cumann na nGaedhael had nothing to do with Fine Gael per se. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about it:

    The first Cumann na nGaedhael was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1900 to campaign against a visit by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Ireland. In 1905 it merged with a number of other parties to form the original Sinn Féin.

    The second Cumann na nGaedhael was formed by pro-Treaty Sinn Féin TDs in Dáil Éireann in Dublin on 27 April 1923 and was largely centre right in outlook. The leadership of the pro-treaty Sinn Féin group included Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins and W.T. Cosgrave. Cosgrave and Griffith had been part of the original dual monarchist Sinn Féin while Collins rose quickly through its ranks after 1916.

  • Well what of the results. Marks the political disarmament of the SF electorate (IMO).

    However I do feel that using Mr Adams as the face of Sinn Fein is way too last century and that a lot of the SF core electorate (but by no means all) have actually bought gaffs in Spain or something to that effect and would rather have the brown envelope crew running the country than the SF who are clear ideologically and economically confused. 😉


    Ho ho ho ho. Ho ho ho ho ho.

    Having put your neck on the line Chris, what are we to do with it now?

  • Oh, and just a minor point to anyonymous if he’s still about, ref:

    I didn’t think his pin-point location was relevant and therefore, not knowing the precise constituency that he’d been elected to

    Er, if you know anything about the North, no-one in the North would refer to anywhere in Belfast as being in Antrim. Noone would say they are from the New Lodge or Rathcoole or Ardoyne in Antrim.

  • that’s why I DELIBERATELY posted “I deliberately kept it vague. ”

    & now that I’ve got back to you, will you forward the GPS longitude and latitude of his Basque flag flying residence ?

    btw how are you with the “… Wood from the trees and all that… I think you need to go on holliers “

  • and another thing… that was over a week ago and “a week is a long time in politics” especially this week what with the Dail elections, therefore…. Let it go! Get online & book some time in the sun! A few days checking out bikinis while pretending to read a crappy Michael Crighton book is recommended.

  • ingram



    Sorry mate but these needs to get back to the top.


  • Gerry Kelly

    Can we stop watching McManus, Ferris, Ellis and the others with spotted histories now? That said, they should be made wear or ring a bell so people know when these moral lepers are about the place.

    Chris Donnelly: an earlier poster advised you to concentrate on your law studies. With the “war” over, it might be best to distance yourself from the petrol smugglers and moce into the corporate light.

  • Anonymous:

    Google Earth says: 54o36’33.69″N, 5o55″44.15″W.

    Happy now?