What to watch out for at the count…

Politics.ie managed to get a hold of Newstalk‘s top tips for today’s winners, constituency by constituency. Their prediction of Tom Parlon as the only PD to be left inside the Dail could spell the end of the party, if it turns out that way. You can cross reference their predictions against Chris’s Sinn Fein’s ones to watch, they make Sean MacManus the only victor out his second group. Noel Whelan in yesterday’s Irish Times spotlighted 15 constituencies that might prove vital battlegrounds:Dublin Central : “The Taoiseach’s constituency colleague, Dermot Fitzpatrick, has retired and this time out Ahern, unwisely, has two running mates. If Fianna Fáil manages to pull off two seats here, it will be good indicator of Ahern’s prospects for holding on to the Taoiseach’s job. There is an outside prospect of a Fine Gael gain and, if it does happen, it is likely be at Labour’s expense”. Newstalk predicts: 1 FF, 1 SF, 1 LAB, 1 IND.

Dublin South West: “Fine Gael could win here and still be far from government”. Newstalk predicts: 1 LAB, 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF.

Dublin South East: “Fine Gael’s candidate, Lucinda Creighton, now looks likely to win a seat and the Green Party’s John Gormley is probably safe. The crucial battle is between Ruairí Quinn, Michael McDowell and the stronger of the two Fianna Fáil candidates.” Newstalk predicts: 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 LAB, 1 GREEN.

Louth: “The decision of Máiréad McGuinness to contest here has opened, for a while at least, the real possibility of a Fine Gael gain from Fianna Fáil. Now that the Fine Gael surge has been contained, party strategists have downgraded her prospects. If she wins a seat alongside Fine Gael’s sitting deputy Fergus O’Dowd then there is a real chance of a rainbow cabinet”. Newstalk predicts: 2 FG, 1 FF, 1 SF.

Dublin North: “…the constituency of the Green Party leader Trevor Sargent, is one of the demographically transformed four-seaters which could very well determine this election. Both of Fianna Fáil’s outgoing TDs and the outgoing Labour TD are not recontesting. Sargent himself is safe. There is also at least one Fianna Fáil seat guaranteed. The Socialist Party, Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will fight for the other two seats. If Fianna Fáil wins two here, Bertie is home and dry.” Newstalk predicts: 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 SOCIALIST, 1 GREEN.

Mayo: “…very high up the list of Fine Gael’s targeted gains. The party has a candidate too many here. It could struggle to manage its vote, not only because Enda Kenny may get a leader’s bounce on his home turf but also because Michael Ring’s electoral appeal will be hard to restrain. A gain for Fine Gael here is a prerequisite for a Mayo taoiseach.” Newstalk predicts: 2 FG, 2 IND, 1 FF.

Dún Laoghaire: “…with Fine Gael’s vote increasing, it will win back at least one seat and the Progressive Democrats are liable to lose out. The Green Party is likely to hold its seat. There could be a second Labour seat or even a second Fine Gael seat. …unlikely now but if Barry Andrews loses his seat you will know it is going to be a very bad weekend for Fianna Fáil”. Newstalk predicts: 2 FF, 1 LAB, 1 GREEN, 1 FG.

Whelan argues he key to the rest lies in Fine Gael picking up second seats in other five seat constitutencies:

…among them Laois Offaly [Newstalk: 2 FF, 2 FG, 1 PD*] and Cork South Central [Newstalk: 2 FF, 2FG, 1 GREEN], which it could do relatively easily. If it wins a second seat in Carlow Kilkenny [2 FF, 2FG, 1 GREEN], then Fine Gael will be doing very well.

There are two three-seaters in Dublin where Fianna Fáil will battle intensely with Sinn Féin for the last seat [Dublin North East, whicn Newstalk predicts: 1 FF, 1 LAB, 1 SF Lab, FF, SF/FG (panel didn’t agree)*, and Dublin North West, which Newstalk predicts: 1 LAB, 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF FF, SF, FF*. However, outside of the capital, there are a number of more crucial three-seaters which are perched floating across the Kenny-Ahern divide and where the destination of the third seat will be indicative of the trend.

Getting two seats out of three in Cork South West [Newstalk: 2 FG, 1 FF] would be relatively easy for Fine Gael, but getting a second seat in Cork North West [Newstalk: 2 FG, 1 FF] would be a significant boost. Winning a seat in Tipperary North [Newstalk: 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 IND] should also come easily for it, but winning a second one in Limerick West [2 FG, 1 FF] will be much harder. In Sligo Leitrim [Newtalk: 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 SF] both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have two outgoing Sligo town-based deputies. Both will be comfortably re-elected. The third seat can be viewed as a fulcrum for the national result. In order to build a majority for Kenny, Fine Gael needs it to come down on their side.

All of this comes with a health warning. PR makes predicting the last seats extremely difficult. As the PDs evidently understand (very little evidence of a national campaign, with all senior figures spent much of their time fighting for their political lives in their own constituencies), there are no safe seats under STV!

* corrections to an earlier cut and paste error…

  • SuperSoupy

    Mick,

    While the Newstalk predictions could be right they were given by John O’Donovan and Angela Douglas (who?!?) during a very poor programme. As far as I can see the only reason p.ie is covering them is because Cochrane was originally meant to be on the panel.

    I wouldn’t give them too much value.

    Punditry is pointless at this stage anyhow.

  • Indeed. But it’s useful to try to pick places to watch. With single party prospects that’s relatively easy, especially with the smaller parties.

  • SuperSoupy

    PaddyPower seem to think it’s Bertie for Taoiseach in some form of coalition. They have FG/Lab/Gn at 3/1.

  • Glensman

    Its hard to know how accurate these predictions will be. McManus is still and outsider in Sligo and the PD’s dropping to one? I can only pray!

  • Ian

    “There are two three-seaters in Dublin where Fianna Fáil will battle intensely with Sinn Féin for the last seat [Dublin North East, whicn Newstalk predicts: 1 FF, 1 LAB, 1 SF, and Dublin North West, which Newstalk predicts: 1 LAB, 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF].”

    That latter prediction is for four seats in a three-seater constituency!?!

  • SuperSoupy

    Ian,

    The actual predictions where:

    Dublin NE: Lab, FF, SF/FG (panel didn’t agree)

    Dublin NW: FF, SF, FF

    Both Mick and Cochrane have it wrong.

  • Ian

    SS,

    I think Mick erroneously pasted the Newstalk predictions for Dublin South West instead of Dublin North West.

  • SuperSoupy

    Lab, SF, FF, FG was the Newstalk prediction for SW not NW.

  • SuperSoupy

    Ian,

    Realised that and was checking while you were posting.

    The NE prediction was definitely a split panel, I was listening and even noted some down.

  • In Mayo, I presume that they are predicting that things will stay as they are. I look at it this way:

    Enda and Michael Ring both should be safe as houses. Enda recruited Mayo GAA Bainisteoir John O’Mahony in the hope of getting a bounce from the county’s recent good form on the playing field. However that strategy could come badly unstuck following the drubbing they got last weekend from the Herrin Chokers. I’d guess O’Mahony won’t get enough transfers to see him through.

    I’d reckon Dara Calleary will get a seat for FF, because at present Ballina has no TD, and Calleary is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Bev will probably get back in as well, and some predict that she and the top brass in FF will kiss and make up shortly afterward.

    So that leaves incumbents Jerry Cowley (Ind) and John Carty (FF). Cowley may suffer from his association with the Rossport campaign, which doesn’t get as much support in Mayo as some people think (particularly in the bigger towns and across the south and east of the county.) Carty seems to be following the path worn by his former mentor PJ Morley, who barely spoke a word in Dáil Eireann during his tenure from 1977 to 1997. But I think he will shade it.

    So that would leave FG 2, FF 2, Ind 1, and if/when Bev and FF resolve their differences, it could end up FG 2, FF 3.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    If Fianna Fáil have a bad day at the polls, it’s going to become evident with a drop in first prefs obviously but also down along the line when the transfers are being distributed and the last seat is being fought for. The party got a huge bounce the last time out in that they won a lot of the last seats – and, on the other side of the coin, FG lost alot of those seats, leaving them with a total loss of 22!

    Therefore, on a bad FF day, they could lose between 20 and thirty seats and while FG might not win them, they would go to the four winds, to the Greens, to SF and to others. So this election could be far more interesting than the safe predictions of ‘modest’ seat losses for FF have been indicating.

    I’m going to put my head on the block and suggest a FF bad day. They’re going to lose in or around twenty seats. And that’s going to put the cat among the pigeons.

  • SuperSoupy

    Gerry,

    RedC did a poll for the Western People it seems to support your thinking – 2FF, 2FG, Flynn with Cowley losing out. I’d agree Beverly will be back on the FF benches soon after.

  • SuperSoupy

    Going back to Flynn, her being brought back into the fold would further demonstrate the attitude of Fianna Fail to financial irregularity. A person guilty of encouraging tax evasion still owing millions in relation to unsuccessful libel actions on the matter being courted wouldn’t much improve their standing.

  • Thanks to all for useful insight, and especially for the original post (which would otherwise not have made it this far).

    Yes, indeed: an interesting couple of days ahead. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving lot of shysters (and no, I’m not thinking just of PD).

    Keep up the good work!

  • Another reason Sinn Fein won’t want to conclude successful negotiations Soupy? BTW, I’ve amended the figures above. Hoping they are correct now!

  • Brian Boru

    Heard those predictions on the PDs and I totally reject them. Similar predictions were made in 2002. You have to understand that there is a strong anti-PD bias in the Irish media. Yesterday’s poll shows a small swing to the PDs with us +1 on 3%. We will do far better than expected with FF transfers. I predict 5-6 seats.

  • SuperSoupy

    Mick,

    Do you mean financial irregularity?

    I personally think a FF/Lab coalition is still the most likely. It’d probably cost Rabbitte his job but I think it may cost Bertie his either in the short or v.short term.

    I think Labour would collapse a coalition on the basis of revalations from Mahon (where the PDs wouldn’t) or demand Bertie goes in advance.

    That could mean SF being courted to prop up a new coalition or an early return to the electorate.

    Bertie wouldn’t be a partner I’d be happy to have before his dirty linen is fully exposed. He could cost anyone tied to him very dear if there’s another election soon.

    All speculation at this stage though.

    Mahon hasn’t gone away you know.

  • Agree on the transfers are key gambit Oili. I’ve just been asked about how high the Bertie bounce will be. The percentages say reasonable in 1st preferences, but the question is whether it will affect their transfers in down the list!

  • Keyser Söze

    if pat rabbitte goes whose the next leader? brendan howlin for tanaiste? liz mcmanus?

  • againtthehead

    hmm, thought this website was about northern ireland politics and culture…

  • Keyser Söze

    sure i heard we’re all on the one road……

  • SuperSoupy

    North men, South men, comrades all
    Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Donegal
    We’re on the one road swinging along

  • Niall

    I predict a FF/FG coalition.

    Not really, but you’d have to wonder why? The parties are broadbly similar ideologically – what really separates them is a residual Civil War hatred which is becoming increasingly meaningless.

    If FG lose where can the party can go from here? What odds would you get on one or two breakaway parties emerging from it, like the creation of the PDs in 1985, with more focussed directions?

  • Keyser Söze

    what have they got loose. the ones who get safely re-elected each time, their cosy careers thats what. a coalition would end up a merger perhaps and a squeeze back down to a party with a minority vote. the irish never like to be taken for mugs (unless it lines our back pockets). and they hate even more to feel like their being dominated, thus never will be a majority party….

  • Niall

    “the irish never like to be taken for mugs (unless it lines our back pockets). and they hate even more to feel like their being dominated, thus never will be a majority party….”

    Except until the 1980s Fianna Fail only ever ruled as a majority party.