Meath East: A byelection well worth watching…

By contrast there is a byelection in the Republic which will be well worth watching for two reasons: one, ahem, to see who wins; and two, how the others fall out.

With some folk starting to complain there’s too many polls in the field, this one will be an intriguing test of strength.

On the first question you cannot fault Harry McGee who plumps for a hold for Fine Gael. Especially if they choose Helen McEntee, the daughter of the late Deputy, Shane McEntee.

But Meath East is exactly the territory which switched wholesale away from FF last time out. In fact from two FF and one FG to 2 FG and 1 Labour (figures from Elections Ireland.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 11.46.54Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 11.47.38

The Fianna Fail candidate Thomas Byrne, beside being one of the two FF TDs who lost their seats last time out, is one of those younger representatives that Micheal Martin managed to get into the Seanad past the party’s old guard. But he has a task that’s, on the face of it bigger than Patsy McGlone’s in Mid Ulster y overtipping FG’s higher than average share of the vote two years ago

I’d expect to see a surge from Sinn Fein here, who ought to profit directly from Labour’s flatlining in the polls. They’re likely to be targeting the household charge in this area.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty