Dublin Central: Mary Lou to rise again?

For two days now, the Irish political press have been getting very excited about a meeting (and possibly a round of golf ) that Brian Cowen had with Seanie FitzPatrick… So far, well nothing more than that… Back at Drumcondra there’s a rather tetchy fight going on at the paper Cumann once owned and driven by one Patrick Bartholomew Ahern (soon to be ex) TD.

Ahern’s brother Maurice has been flatlining there for the last few outings, but it’s thought that if Bertie’d been running then Sinn Fein’s Vice President would be in the poor place. Now, Mary Lou McDonald must be in with a fighting chance to take one off Fianna Fail in a constituency where Ahern took the guts of two quotas on the first count last time out.

Currently, Labour’s Joe Costello looks set to top the poll, with Tony Gregory’s successor Maureen O’Sullivan looking good to secure his legacy. Fine Gael has Slugger irregular Paschal Donohoe standing for the third time, and as the only centre right candidate, he should be be in decent shape to exploit Fianna Fail’s fragmenting base.

What’s unquantifiable is: 1, the extent of the failure of the Fianna Fail vote/machine; and 2, the spoiling effects on Mary Lou’s vote on former Sinn Fein city councillor Christy Burke who took with him a chunk of the party’s machine there.

But for someone many commentators had assumed had exited southern politics for good, there is all to play for McDonald in Dublin Central.

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  • Mary Lou McLovely. Much too pretty to be a Shinner, she would get my vote any day of the week.

  • MichaelMac


    are you sure Christy took a fair chunk of the party machine with him? From politics.ie it is claimed that he walked away on his own.

    Anyway, if SF support is anywhere near the poll levels then MLM wil be one of 5 or 6 TD’s elected in Dublin alone.

    A few months can be a long time in politics on 15th November Pete Baker ran an article from Brian Feeney that stated;

    “Sinn Féin just haven’t made any impact at all.”

    “Nobody knows what they stand for.”

    Well it seems that they are cutting out a nice little niche for themselves as the party of oppostion and the tour de force of Pearse Doherty makes that November story appear a bit stale.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    I think Maureen O’Sullivan will keep her seat, and Labour and Fine Gael will take one each. There’s still a lot of variables before we start taking stabs at the fourth seat though. SF are going to throw a lot of weight behind Mary Lou again, but Christy Burke might stand as an independent, which would hurt SF’s chances. Also, Mary Fitzpatrick could successfully position herself as outside Bertie’s old boys club and take the seat for FF.

  • Cynic2

    2 x 0 = 0

  • Seamus Clarke

    “former Sinn Fein city councillor Christy Burke who took with him a chunk of the party’s machine there.”

    Lulz x 100

    Example 135663117 of bloggers making things up to try and make it look like they’ve done their homework. You didn’t make up quotes from unknown politicians during exams at school by any chance?

  • John Ó Néill

    There are too many unquantifiables yet:
    – what do FF voters do? Come out? Or, stay at home and mourn for the good old days (a more likely short-term scenario than wholescale switches to FG etc). In DC a good proportion of Bertie’s transfers still stayed within FF. It is 1992 since any other candidate managed a quota other than Bertie. So, completely writing off Brady or some other FF candidate is still premature. A Red C poll for Paddypower still have 12% wanting Bertie as the next President (the mind really boggles)
    – if SF become more transfer-friendly, how will that play out over individual counts (and don’t put any store in the “took the chunk of the party machinery” line, too many commentators indulge in wishful thinking about SF), if the polls are right, and SF remain above 10% (at least), Dublin Central would surely be among the main targets
    – FG haven’t pulled in a quota in Dublin Central in a long time, and they still have to endure the pain of having to have Enda front and centre during an election campaign instead of hiding him somewhere. In previous elections, his particular brand of schtick hasn’t washed with Dublin voters.
    – Costello, for Lab, is probably the only certainty.
    – The Gregory/O’Sullivan seat has been very much transfer dependent making it a recurring risk, especially as there may be 4 candidates tight to a quota in later counts.

    Currently, I’d have Dublin Central as Lab + 3 others, probably 1 FF and two from SF, FG and O’Sullivan (at a push, due to the Enda factor, I’d guess Costello will have polled very well and FG not so well, meaning Mary Lou and O’Sullivan may both get in). But I’d say three of the seats are very much in play.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    There was some opinion poll quoted on RTEs Frontline which stated that 50% of voters would not even consider voting Fianna Fáil which is about the same level of people who would not consider voting Sinn Féin.

  • Greenflag

    ‘A Red C poll for Paddypower still have 12% wanting Bertie as the next President (the mind really boggles)’

    On the other hand David Norris commands support of 27% for next President . As the post has in recent decades become a ‘female ‘ preserve perhaps it’s time for a Protestant and a gay Joycean to have a go of residency in the Aras . Should be enough to keep the Pope away for a few years eh ?

    As a Joycean scholar of high reknown Norris would make an excellent President. I however would suggest his first overseas visit should NOT be to the USA or Iran . He might want to foster closer relations with Scandinavia and the UK and other more enlightened states.

  • Greenflag

    @ john o’neill ,

    ‘There are too many unquantifiables yet:’

    And I don’t see them becoming any less unquantifiable before polling day . I for one won’t vote FF(the party ) -neither will I vote FG I won’t vote Green either . I’m tempted to vote SF as a protest vote but the candidate they have proffered up is a gobshite (not Mary Lou ) Ironically the FF man in this constituency has been an excellent representative and will probably lose the seat this time because of his party affiliation . I suspect I’ll vote Labour and SF and Independent in the order of preference of who I consider has the potential to be the best TD .

    I’d guess that probably 40% of the electorate are in the same predicament as I am . And no I don’t believe either Kenny or Gilmore or Adams are offering any real alternatives

  • John Ó Néill

    @ greenflag
    “I’d guess that probably 40% of the electorate are in the same predicament as I am…”

    I’d guess even more – I do think a sizeable proportion of FF supporters, or erstwhile supporters, may simply not vote. Assuming that the IMF-ECB deal that saw taxpayers taking on the bank debt, the AIB nationalisation that was sneaked through at Xmas, Anglo etc all dominate the election campaign, the sum effect is likely to be that many of those who typically vote FF will abstain from voting rather than register a protest.
    Of all the constituencies, Dublin Central, with Bertie’s huge vote etc is hardest of all to predict. A notable comparison may be CJHs departure from Dublin North Central in 1992 (the ‘Spring Tide’ election) – with a drop in the FF vote in DNC from 51.64% in 1989 to 38.97% in 1992, a pro rata drop in Dublin Central this time out would see a FF vote of 32-33 % (i.e.a comfortable quota plus change). But we are still only in the cold war stage of a general election campaign which may yet be 2-3 months (or more) away.

  • Greenflag

    @ John O’Neill ,

    You are probably correct in thinking that a sizeable proportion of FF supporters may not vote this time around . FF is facing the same credibility gap that faces the RC Church and the Banks . It will be a watershed election and right now FF are without umbrellas as many of their high polling TD’s run for the hills on one pretext or another for fear of electoral humiliation .

    Never in our political history have so many of the political ‘elite’ jumped overboard simultaneously and we can probably expect others when E day is announced .

  • Exiledone

    I’ll give my two cents worth on the constituency.
    It’s a hard constituency to predict. The only safe seat is Costello’s for Labour, the main predicted loss will be Cyprian “939” Brady and the rest could go in any way possible.
    FF are gone here. They’ve no representation in the North Inner City and famously lost Maurice Ahern in Cabra in the locals. There was a very interesting article in the Phoenix magazine (which would have good sources in FF) on the Dublin Central FF organisation which showed it was completely divided with supporters of Ahern backing incumbent TD Cyprian “939” Brady against Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick. If Fitzpatrick ran alone she might have a chance of retaining a seat for FF (however she face’s a huge handicap. No matter how much Mary Fitzgerald portrays herself as a victim of Bertie and the Drumcondra mafia she’s running for FF in Dublin, a party which is completely toxic in Dublin). Running both would only serve to split the vote.
    FG lost their seat in 2002 when Ballyfermot was transferred to Dublin South Central. Senator Pascal Donoghue is running for them for the third time now. He should improve but I can’t see him getting elected on FPV’s alone. He’ll need a good number of transfers to get elected.
    Costello is safe as cards. The second labour candidate Aine Clancy should in theory do well. Labour are still in the ascendent in Dublin and she’s relatively well liked. However running second candidates and dividing electoral territory between candidates is something relatively new to Labour. She’s snookered if Labour decline any further in the polls (which they’ve been doing since December)
    SF seemed to have rebuilt their organisation. Mary Lou is working her ass off at constituency work (which she is adept at). In Cabra Kehoe and a good few older hands are back working. The organisation is seems to be strong in the North inner city. She’s firmly in the mix but again her main problem could be transfers and how much of her vote will come out on polling day. She needs to get above 15% in the FPV, which she seems to be getting in those constituency projections from Dotski_W’s irishpollingreport.
    Regardin Burke I’ll say this. Burke was a good worker and a good man. However he was not too often on the best of terms with the local organisation and sometimes clashed with other SF councillors on DCC (i’d say part of this stems from the fact that he was the only SF councillor there for a long while and developed a tendency for deal making and diplomacy to survive, a tactic which certainly rankled with other councillors after 1999). Very few people left with Burke and from what I’ve gathered most are back in SF. I don’t think Burke will run in the election. He would’ve declared his intention at this stage and he doesn’t seem to have the machinery or the funds necessary to launch a successful campaign. I’ve heard rumours that he asked some of Maureen O’Sullivans “Gregory” organisation to help him out for the election though I’d be inclined to believe that it’s just a rumour.
    Coming to Maureen O’Sullivan. She’s been awfully quiet recently. She doesn’t seem to be as visible as Tony Gregory which could play against her. Allegedly she misses her profession as a teacher and I was expecting her to retire. It’ll be interesting to see how well she does though its a given that a lot of transfers will come her way.
    Finally introducing Councillor Cieran Perry. Perry was involved in the Anti-Bin Tax campaign in Cabra and narrowly failed to get elected in 2004. He was elected in 2009 to DCC. He canvassed for O’Sullivan in the by-election and was probably crucial in getting votes for her in the Cabra end of the constituency. He’s one to watch out for.