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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: February 12, 2016, 05:09:58 am
Close of nominations was noon yesterday.

Below are my numbers cobbled together from various sources... E&OE

Included also is the number of female candidates. For those unaware, rules regarding State funding for parties changed since the last election. Parties running greater than 70% of their candidates of one gender would suffer significant financial penalty under the new rules.

Candidates   Candidates
PartyTotal Female
Fine Gael8827
Fianna Fáil7122
Sinn Féin5018
Independent Alliance215
Direct Democracy183
Independents 4 Change   52
People’s Convention 41
Catholic Democrats  32
Irish Democratic Party21
Fís Nua11
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 11, 2016, 10:22:22 am
Kildare South

Fine GaelMartin Heydon TD, Cllr. Fiona McLoughlin Healy
LabourCllr. Mark Wall
Fianna FáilSean Ó Fearghaíl TD, Cllr. Fiona O'Loughlin
Sinn FéinPatricia Ryan
RenuaMary Kennedy
GreenSuzanne McEneaney
Independents  Declan Crowe

Kildare South remains a 3-seater having lost 7,000 people to Laois from Kildangan, Monasterevin and Churchtown; and gained almost 5,000 comes from North Kildare from around Edenderry and Naas.

In 2011 in Kildare South, FG took 1 seat from 33% of the vote; Labour took 1 seat from 28%; and FF took 1 seat from 28%. SF polled 6%, the Greens 1%.

Of the incumbents, Labour's Jack Wall, a TD since 1997, is retiring. Running in his place is his son, Mark - an Athy-based Councillor, elected on the first count in 2014. How much of his father's personal vote Wall can retain is to be seen.

Both the FF and FG incumbents are regarded as reasonably. Both have decent running-mates who will have been tasked with squeezing out Wall. FF have Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin, based in Newbridge, with reasonable local profile. FG have Cllr. Fiona McLoughlin Healy, a councillor from the same area as O'Loughlin. Neither FF nor FG are likely to have a huge number votes to spare beyond the quotas of their lead candidates - both Cllrs might be better off trying to unseat their party colleagues.

Elsewhere SF went through a surprising selection convention resulting in Laois-based Patricia Ryan as their candidate. This is likely to disrupt their potential here which I would've thought was 12-15% - enough to put start putting pressure on Wall.

Independent Declan Crowe has been active in the anti-water charges campaign. He polled less than 3% in the locals.

The Renua and Green candidates are unknowns.

On paper, Wall looks quite vulnerable - but its difficult to suggest who else could take the 3rd seat.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 Lab
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 Lab
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Heydon), 1 FF (Ó Fearghaíl), 1 Lab (Wall)
3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: February 11, 2016, 07:43:02 am
Breaking news from Kerry on nomination day...

Quote from: Radio Kerry
Cllr Danny Healy-Rae is to contest this year’s General Election in Kerry.

Just minutes ahead of the deadline at noon, the Independent county councillor representing the Killarney Municipal District submitted his nomination papers in Tralee to contest the February 26th election.

He becomes the sixteenth candidate to run in the constituency and will be the running mate of his brother, sitting TD Michael Healy-Rae.


I'll take another look at my Kerry prediction later, but my initial instinct is that two Healy-Raes in the Dáil is a real possibility.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 11, 2016, 04:33:52 am
Kildare North

Fine GaelBernard Durkan TD, Anthony Lawlor TD
LabourEmmet Stagg TD
Fianna FáilCllr. James Lawless, Cllr. Frank O'Rourke
Sinn FéinCllr. Réada Cronin
AAA-PBPAshling Merriman
RenuaCllr. Shane Fitzgerald
SocDemsCatherine Murphy TD
GreenMaebh Ní Fhallúin
Independents  Cllr. Brendan Young, Michael Beirne, Gerard Dunne

Kildare North remains a 4-seater constituency despite losing 4,700 people to Kildare South in the areas of Robertstown and Timahoe.

In 2011, in Kildare North, FG took 2 seats from 33% of the vote; Labour 1 seat from 29%; and independent Catherine Murphy got elected from 13.5%. FF polled 14.5%; SF 6%; Greens 2%.

Bernard Durkan was first elected in 1981 and has been in the Dáil (except for a few months in 1982) ever since. He leads the FG ticket - which will take a hit, but whatever hit it takes won't unseat Durkan himself. His running-mate is incumbent Anthony Lawlor - a name which I suspect I've not seen or noticed since doing this exercise 5 years ago. Lawlor will need the FG vote to split very well to have a shot here - essentially he'd need to keep ahead of fellow Government TD Emmet Stagg.

71-year old Stagg has been a Labour Party TD since 1987 and has rarely been in jeopardy of losing it. The party had ok results in the locals - running around 14% - if Stagg can better that by 1 or 2 percentage points, he will be favoured to be returned again.

Catherine Murphy, formerly independent, now de facto co-leader of the Social Democrats, has beena high-profile TD, pushing questions investigating, among other things, the special relationship between a certain litigious wealthiest man in Ireland (though tax resident elsewhere) and state owned financial institutions. There's no reason to believe she will do any worse than 2011, and should get re-elected.

Fianna Fáil are running Cllr James Lawless from Sallins-Naas, and Cllr. Frank O'Rourke from Cellbridge-Leixlip - both topped the poll in their respective local government areas in 2014. Lawless's base appears more FF friendly and gives him the upper hand in chasing the seat. The party fell from 40% in 2007 to 14.5% in 2011. Local election results indicate that they got around 20% of the vote - exactly what they need for a quota.

Not a naturally strong area for Sinn Féin - I'd say something around 10-12% would be within the expected range this time. Not enough to get elected, but potentially very important transfers to go around.

In an interesting political move, Cllr. Shane Fitzgerald – until recently a Green party member and former councillor – is now the Renua candidate here. We'll have to see if this helps him better the 1.8% he polled in 2011.

RTÉ prediction: 2 FG, 1 Lab, 1 SocDem
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 Lab, 1 SocDem
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Durkan), 1 FF (Lawless), 1 SD (Murphy), 1 Lab (Stagg)
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: February 11, 2016, 03:17:47 am
By the by, some electoral trivium, the good people of Listowel in County Kerry are in the middle of a re-count of the local election for the area from 2014.

More here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/kerry-local-election-recount-suspended-over-disputed-ballots-1.2529277
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: February 11, 2016, 03:10:32 am
And another constituency poll is out.

The Irish Independent commissioned Millward Brown to poll Dublin West...

7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: February 10, 2016, 05:58:00 am
Our first (that I know of) constituency poll...

TG4 commissioned Ipsos MRBI to poll Donegal

19 Doherty (SF) 
17 McConalogue (FF) 
13 McHugh (FG) 
13 Gallagher (FF)
  9 Mac Lochlainn (SF)
  7 Pringle (i)
  7 Shiels (i)
  4 Harte (FG) 
  4 McBrearty (i)
  3 Jackson  (i)
  2 Doherty (SF) 
  2 McGarvey (i) 
  2 Kennedy (i)

Looks like they intend to poll Kerry and Galway West in the coming weeks.

8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 10, 2016, 03:15:10 am

Fine GaelJimmy Deenihan TD, Brendan Griffin TD, Grace O'Donnell
LabourArthur Spring TD
Fianna FáilCllr. John Brassil, Cllr. Norma Moriarty
Sinn FéinMartin Ferris TD
AAA-PBPBrian Finucane
RenuaDonal Corcoran
GreenMichael Fitzgerald
Independents  Henry Gaynor, Michael Healy-Rae TD, Kevin Murphy, Michael O'Gorman

The Kingdom is reunited for the first time since 1937 (when it was a 7-seater) - two 3-seaters (Kerry North-West Limerick and Kerry South) become one 5-seat constituency.

In 2011, in Kerry North-Limerick West, FG got 1 seat from 41% of the vote; SF 1 seat from 20%; and Labour 1 from 20%. FF polled 11.5%; the Greens 0.5%.

In Kerry South, FG got 1 seat from 33%; independent Michael Healy-Rae was elected from 15%; and independent Tom Fleming elected from 14.5%. FF polled 13%; Labour 11%; the Greens 1%.

In the 2014 locals, FF polled 22%; FG 22%; SF 14%; Lab 7%; indies 32%.

Of the 6 incumbents at the dissolution, 5 are contesting the election.

Until a couple of days ago, independent Deputy Tom Fleming was going to run again. However, per Radio Kerry, he dropped out because he "has not covered the ground necessary in the campaign trail to date”. Fleming is an ex-FF member. I presume FF, and Healy-Rae to be the main beneficiaries of the decision.

I fully expect Michael Healy-Rae to top the poll here. Arguably the most unintelligible TD to outside ears, the Healy-Raes nonetheless appear to make sense to the good people of Kerry. They are entrenched solidly here as they embark on their 5th term between father and son. Michael's brothers topped the polls in Killarney and Kerry S&W in the 2014 locals - and had they put other brothers, sisters or anyone else called Healy-Rae up for election, they'd have been elected too - Danny Healy-Rae got comfortably over two quotas, and Johnny wasn't all that far behind. Michael will be on the shortlist as one of the most biddable independents returned for any government looking to cobble together a majority.

Next of the list of certainties, SF's Martin Ferris. A former leading light in the IRA, Ferris has been comfortably elected and re-elected since displacing Labour here in 2002. The party is much stronger in the north than the south of the county (Kerry South was one of the few constituencies they didn't contest last time out). The local elections went well - Ferris's daughter Toiréasa topped the poll in Tralee. Ferris should end up with around a quotas worth of votes on the first count. I'm a little surprised that the party hasn't run a second candidate based in the southern end of the county to try and make progress for next time.

FG's Jimmy Deenihan has been a candidate in Kerry North in every Dáil election since 1982 and has been returned every time since 1987. There's little to suggest that he won't be safely re-elected this time - the FG vote in his home area (Listowel) in the locals held up well enough. The question is whether FG can return a second.

FG's other incumbent, Brendan Griffin, made headlines when he donated half his salary to pay for a teacher in Fybough National School near his home. Costly as that may have been - it's not clear that it will result in any votes - Griffin’s brother Matt lost his council seat in 2014. Despite this, I still expect FG to come in at something like 27-30% of the vote - which should be enough for a second seat. Griffin appears better placed than Fine Gael’s third candidate, Tralee-based Grace O’Donnell, to get the necessary return.

FF are running Cllr. John Brassil, from Ballyheigue, in the northern part of the constituency, and Kenmare schoolteacher Cllr. Norma Moriarty, elected in the last local elections, from the south. From 12% in the last election, and 22% in the locals, FF really should be taking a seat here. Brassil appears to have the stronger base than Moriarty so is favoured.

Labour's incumbent is Tralee-based Arthur Spring, son of former leader Dick, and grandson of Dan who first won a seat for Labour in Kerry in 1943. Since then the seat was held for every election until 2002 and 2007. Spring will need a strong performance to be in serious contention, swimming against the tide of poor national polls and mediocre local election figures. I note The Examiner reported just the other day that with the late withdrawal of Fleming – Labour Senator Marie Moloney might be added as a second candidate, based in the south of the constituency (which is North heavy in terms of candidates). 

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 i, + 1 of FG/Lab
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 SF, 2 i
Jas prediction: 2 FG (Deenihan, Griffin), 1 SF (Ferris), FF (Brassil), 1 i (Healy-Rae)
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 07, 2016, 12:06:05 pm
Galway West

Fine GaelSean Kyne TD, Sen. Hildegarde Naughton, John O’Mahony TD
LabourDerek Nolan TD
Fianna FáilJohn Connolly, Cllr. Mary Hoade, Éamon Ó Cuív TD
Sinn FéinSen. Trevor Ó Clochartaigh
AAA-PBPTommy Holohan
RenuaNicola Daveron
SocDemsNiall Ó Tuathail
GreenSeamus Sheridan
Direct Democracy Ruairí O'Neill
Independents  Cllr. James Charity, Cllr. Catherine Connolly, Cllr. Mike Cubbard, Noel Grealish TD, Sen. Fidelma Healy-Eames, Tommy Roddy

Galway West remains a 5-seater having grown its territory taking in 7,500 people from the Ballinrobe area of south Mayo.

In 2011, in Galway W, FG took 2 seats on 31%; FF took 1 seat on 21%; Labour 1 seat on 12%; and independent Noel Grealish a seat from 10%. SF polled 6%, the Greens 2%, and independent Catherine Connolly 8%.

Just nineteen candidates to pick from here - best get on with it...

FF are running 3 candidates - Éamon Ó Cuív and two people who aren't Éamon Ó Cuív and won't get elected. The boundaries and running mates are very favourable to Ó Cuív who should get something around a quota himself and his running mates not much.

Of FG's incumbents, Brian Walsh resigned his seat just a few weeks ago on health grounds. Seán Kyne is based in Connemara (with Ó Cuív) and might have had the most marginal seat in the country at the last election - he held off independent Catherine Connolly by 17 votes after several days counting and recounting. So far as I can recall Mr Kyne has been among the more anonymous TDs in the Dáil - nonetheless incumbency and geography stand him as favourite of the FG cabal to get re-elected.

John O'Mahony is also a FG incumbent - though was elected from Mayo in 2011, with 3 others from FG. This being unsustainable, O'Mahony was strongly advised to run in Galway West which has taken in southern Mayo where O'Mahony can expect to be dominant.

Senator Hildegard Naughton is FG's third candidate, based in Galway City. Naughton may be hampered by the presence of the hilarious Oranmore-based Sen. Fidelma Healy-Eames on the ballot. Healy-Eames was on the FG ticket 5 years ago. She left the party over what she regarded as the government's too liberal abortion legislation. She subsequently warned the nation that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to the end of mothers' day. Unfortunately, the next parliament will have to get by without her wisdom.

Derek Nolan is the incumbent Labour candidate. Having topped the poll in 2011, Nolan, like his party colleagues elsewhere faces a challenge as to whether he can get re-elected at all. Nolan is possibly the key beneficiary from the resignation of FG's Brian Walsh - as both are Galway city based. Labour maintained 11% of the vote in the Galway city local elections in 2014 - but less than half that elsewhere in Galway West. Nolan will need transfers from somewhere (FG?) to stay in the hunt.

A further inhibiting factor for Nolan is that former Labour member Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is again the SF candidate here. He is also Galway City based also. There's never been much evidence that Ó Clochartaigh is a particularly effective vote getter - but one suspects he'll benefit from SF's rising tide and from the exceedingly divided field to at least being in contention.

The independents to watch are incumbent TD Noel Grealish and Cllr. Catherine Connolly. Grealish has been a TD since 2002, initially a Progressive Democrat, and then an independent following their implosion. Very quiet during this Dáil - Grealish is the type of independent a Government just shy of a majority will seek to bring onside. His established base should keep him well placed in this field of candidates, and his independent brand should ensure transfers flow easily enough to see him returned.

Catherine Connolly is ex-Labour and also Galway city based. Just 17 votes shy in 2011, she improved her return in the 2014 locals and is likely to benefit from Labour's ebb. She won't not be competitive.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FF, 1 FG +3?
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 Lab, 2 i
Jas prediction: 1 FF (Ó Cuív), 1 FG (Kyne), 1 SF (Ó Clochartaigh), 2 i (Grealish, Connolly)
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 07, 2016, 02:38:07 am
WP 1 (-1)

Are they even running enough candidates to make 1%?

Five declared candidates so far - in:
- Cork North Central
- Dublin Central
- Dublin Mid-West
- Dublin North West
- Meath East

Which as well as being ordered alphabetically, is a not unreasonable approximation of their likely best results in order.

In 2011, 1% equated to 22,203 votes. I'd say it's about 50-50 whether any of the WP candidates will break 1,000 votes.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 07, 2016, 02:13:16 am
Galway East

Fine GaelCiaran Cannon TD, Paul Connaughton TD
LabourSen. Lorraine Higgins
Fianna FáilColm Keaveney TD, Cllr. Ann Rabbitte
Sinn FéinAnnmarie Roche
GreenMáiréad Ní Chróinín
Direct Democracy Aengus Melia
Independents Alliance   Cllr. Sean Canney
Independents  Cllr. Michael Fahy

Galway East was decimated by the constituency commission losing 32 electoral divisions and over 20,000 people to the new Roscommon-Galway constituency. It also drops to becoming a 3-seater.

In 2011, in Galway E, FG took 2 seats on 44%; FF took 1 seat on 18%; and, Colm Keaveney for Labour took the last seat on 13%. Independent Seán Canney polled 9%; SF 6%; the Greens 1%.

The FG ticket comprises their two incumbents - Paul Connaughton in the south of the constituency and Ciaran Cannon in the north. Connaughton took over his seat from his father - an 8-term incumbent; he will suffer more from the constituency changes as it is north-eastern Galway which has disappeared. Cannon was the last leader of the Progressive Democrats and was granted refugee status by FG on their dissolution. It is very difficult to judge who might be favoured between them.

Similarly, it's not clear who the stronger FF candidate is. Their incumbent, Colm Keaveney was elected as a Labour TD - the first ever Labour TD in Galway East. He had been running for Labour in Galway East since 1997 and had been for quite a while, the only Labour councillor on Galway County Council, having developed a solid base in Tuam. In 2012 he was elected Chairman of the Labour Party. He voted against cuts to the respite care grant, which formed part of the 2013 budget, and lost the party whip. A year later, he caused some surprise by joining FF - being one of their most vocal critics of Labour and the government. The move was not wholly welcomed within Galway - but Keaveney managed to establish a sufficient base to get himself reasonably comfortably elected onto the ticket for this election.

His running mate, Cllr Anne Rabbitte is Portumna based in the far south of the constituency. She topped the poll in Loughrea in the 2014 locals - when FF performed slightly stronger in the south of the constituency than the north. WHo is the leadng candidate may depend on how much of the Labour vote Keaveney built up stays with him - or goes stays with the Labour party.

Labour's candidate is Senator Lorraine Higgins. Last time out, as Keaveney's running-mate, she polled 6% (to his 7.2%). Higgins has failed in all previous election attempts (Galway Council Council, Dáil, Seanad, European Parliament) and isn't likely to break the streak now. Her transfers though could be critical. Keaveney is also based in the southern end of the constituency.

SF have never been a factor in Galway East. This election though could well see them overtake Labour here and maybe give them better standing to challenge next time out. Their candidate is a complete unknown to me.

The two other candidates to note are the independents. Michael 'Stroke' Fahy, from Loughrea, polled 9% in the local elections there in 2014 and has been on the council since forever. His 2007 imprisonment for misappropriation of council funds, subsequently quashed, hasn't undult impigned his political career.

The other independent, Sean Canney, from Tuam, is a real contender for a seat. He topped the poll in the local elections in Tuam in both 2009 and 2014; and in the last general polled 9%. A generic rural independent - he's likely to prove transfer friendly, and benefit from the good national polling numbers for independents.

RTÉ prediction: 2 FG+ 1 FF or i
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 i
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Cannon), 1 FF (Keaveney), 1 i (Canney)
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 06, 2016, 05:28:35 am
Dún Laoghaire

Fine GaelCllr. Maria Bailey, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor TD
LabourCllr. Carrie Smyth
Fianna FáilCllr. Cormac Devlin, Cllr. Mary Hanafin
Sinn FéinCllr. Shane O’Brien
AAA-PBPRichard Boyd Barrett TD
RenuaFrank Cronin
GreenCllr. Ossian Smyth
Direct Democracy Raymond Whitehead
Independent Alliance  Carol Hunt

Dún Laoghaire gains almost 14,000 people in Foxrock, Carrickmines, Cabinteely, Loughlinstown, and parts of Stillorgan and Leopardstown - retaining its status as a 4-seater constituency.

However, one of those seats is accounted for - the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, being deemed automatically returned. So, in effect the election will be for 3 seats.

In 2011, in Dún Laoghaire, FG took 2 seats on 34%; Labour took 1 seat on 30%; and PBP took 1 seat on 11%. FF polled 15%; the Greens 4%.

FG should have more than a quota to play with here. Incumbent Mary Mitchell-O'Connor is thus strongly favoured to be returned. Whether the party can get running mate Maria Bailey into contention is in question. Her best chance would be to outpoll her fellow Ballybrack-based Labour Councillor Carrie Smyth and hope her preferences would be enough.

This theory also works in reverse. Labour's Smyth will need transfers from somewhere - and exhausted FG votes, particularly from Bailey, look like the most promising source. Smyth takes the mantle of replacing Labour's would-be Taoiseach in 2011, Eamon Gilmore. DL is a constituency where the party could well have taken 2 seats in 2011 - had Gilmore's running-mate, Ivana Bacik, gotten 200 or so more first preferences from Gilmore's pile than she did, she would quite possibly have the taken the last seat instead of People Before Profit.

The party's vote in the locals looks to have fallen to around 12% - too low to challenge for a 25% quota in itself, but not low enough to discount Bailey completely if things go her way over the coming weeks.

Richard Boyd-Barrett is the only outgoing PBP TD. The party had a strong local elections in 2014 here - three of their 14 councillors are within the constituency (and they were only a handful of votes from gaining a fourth). Boyd-Barrett's profile is substantial, and he is likely to still be very transfer-friendly here - particularly from the Greens and Sinn Féin, neither of whom are likely to be able to be competitive, but both of whom could establish a respectable pool of votes (5-10%) to transfer elsewhere.

DL is another case of where FF had comfortably won 2 seats in 2007 and lost them both in 2011. The big name of the ticket is the former cabinet minister and (fleeting) party deputy leader, Mary Hanafin. Never an obviously popular party member, Hanafin has proved a recurring annoyance to the current leadership, but has a not insubstantial electoral base. Her running mate, Cormac Devlin, succeeded in getting nominated by the local party - Hanafin had to get added by party HQ. Devlin's best chance would be to outpoll Hanafin, but that may be a tall order.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 AAA-PBP, + 1 ?
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 AAA-PBP
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Mitchell-O'Connor), 1 PBP-AAA (Barrett), 1 FF (Hanafin)
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 06, 2016, 12:12:11 am
Dublin West

Fine GaelSen. Catherine Noone, Leo Varadkar TD
LabourJoan Burton TD
Fianna FáilCllr. Jack Chambers
Sinn FéinCllr. Paul Donnelly
AAA-PBPRuth Coppinger TD
RenuaJo O'Brien
GreenCllr. Roderic O’Gorman
Independent Alliance  Cllr. David McGuinness
Independent    TJ Clare

Dublin W remains a 4-seater. Boundary changes have seen 17,000 Swords residents returned to Dublin Fingal, and 13,000 people come into the constituency from Dublin Central, specifically Ashtown and the Navan Road.

In 2011, in Dublin SW, Labour took 1 seat on 29%; FG took 1 seat on 27%; the Socialists 1 seat on 19%; and FF 1 seat on 17%. SF polled 6% and the Greens 1%.

There have been two by-elections in the constituency since then.

The only FF success in Dublin in 2011 was former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan. He died from pancreatic cancer less than six months after the election.

Patrick Nulty of Labour won the by-election on 24%. FF polled 22%; Socialist 21%; FG 15%; SF 9%; Greens 5%.

This was the first time a Government party had won a by-election in Ireland since 1982. Within weeks, Nulty voted against a VAT increase in the budget and lost the whip. Some months later, he resigned from the party. In 2014 he resigned his seat after sending inappropriate online messages to an underage girl.

In the 2014 by-election, Ruth Coppinger of the Socialists won on 21%. SF polled 21%; FF 18%; FG 13%; Green 6%; Labour 5%.

Of the four TDs in place at the end of the Dáil, three are seeking re-election. Joe Higgins the thrice elected Socialist is retiring.

The FG ticket is Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, and Senator Catherine Noone. FG had a decent local election in Castleknock and an ok return in Mulhuddart - the two principal LEAs within the constituency. Varadkar should wrap up a quota, or sufficiently close to it, without too much difficulty.

The Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton faces considerable problems here. Parties to her left are on the rise in the constituency, Labour's poll numbers are half what they were five years ago, and the local elections went poorly for them here. And, Burton has lost her seat before - in 1997 when the party halved its vote and seats. Could this be the second election in a row where the sitting Tánaiste loses her seat?

The Socialists, currently running under the AAA-PBP banner, are well established in Dublin West. 3 of their 14 local councillors are within the constituency - and 2 of their 3 outgoing TDs. They did very well in both by-elections. Their candidate, Ruth Coppinger, has a strong profile - and is probably the most assured of a seat after Varadkar.

FF are running Cllr. Jack Chambers who topped the poll in Castleknock in the 2014 locals (with one and a half quotas). The FF vote notably held up well here in the last general and in the two subsequent by-elections - however, the FF candidate in those by-elections, David McGuinness, having lost out on the FF nomination, is running as part of the Independent Alliance.

In 2011 SF were essentially nowhere in Dublin West - polling 6% and having no local councillors. In 2014, in the by-election they polled 21% and got three councillors elected, including their candidate Paul Donnolly - who outpolled both Coppinger and McGuinness.

Of the rest, Roderick O'Gorman of the Greens has been steadily building his recognition and base (having run in both by-elections, as well as the previous two generals and the past two local elections). He won't be a contender this time (though maybe next?), but his transfers are likely to be critical here.  

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG + 3 of Lab, FF, AAA-PBP, SF
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 Lab, 1 AAA-PBP, 1 SF
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Varadkar), 1 SF (Donnelly), 1 AAA-PBP (Coppinger), 1 FF (Chambers)
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 04, 2016, 05:00:17 am
smartvote.ie has a 'Who should I vote for' quiz if anyone's interested.

It's organised by constituency, taking either the party line or the local candidate's views directly into account.

For my home constituency, I got:
41 Green
32 DDI (!)
29 SF
27 FG
25 Jimmy Mee (Ind)
23 FF

For more colourful results, one should presumably pick a constituency with a greater range of parties running.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 04, 2016, 03:26:02 am
Dublin South-West

Fine GaelCllr. Colm Brophy, Cllr. Anne-Marie Dermody, Karen Warren
LabourCllr. Mick Duff, Cllr. Pamela Kearns
Fianna FáilCllr. John Lahart
Sinn FéinSean Crowe TD, Cllr. Sarah Holland
AAA-PBPPaul Murphy TD, Sandra Fay
RenuaCllr. Ronan McMahon
GreenCllr. Francis Noel Duffy
Direct Democracy Stephen Sinclair
Independent Alliance  Cllr Deirdre O’Donovan
Independents    Declan Burke, Peter Fitzpatrick, Eamon Maloney TD, Sen. Katherine Zappone, Kieran Adam-Quigley

Dublin SW gains 40,000 people from Rathfarnham and Firhouse/Knocklyon in Dublin South, and with them becomes a 5-seater.

In 2011, in Dublin SW, Labour took 2 seats on 36%; FG took 1 seat on 28%; SF took 1 seat on 17%. FF polled 11%; the Socialists 5%; Greens 1%.

In the 2014 by-election, the Socialists/AAA won the seat on 27%; SF took 30%; independent Ronan McMahon 9%; FG 9%; FF 9%; Lab 8.5%; PBP 2%; Greens 2%.

DSW is another case of Labour having won 2 seats last time with both in serious jeopardy now.

Pat Rabbitte has retired, and their other winner last time, Eamon Maloney is running as an independent. Pamela Kearns, who ran for the party in the 2014 by-election, is based in the new, more middle-class, part of the constituency. The local elections suggested a return of about 11% for Labour - a little shy of what they'd need to be reasonably sure of getting to the 16.7% quota target.

FG should certainly benefit from the constituency boundary changes - but have lost a high-profile candidate when Brian Hayes became an MEP in 2014. They've decided to field 3 candidates: Colm Brophy in Templeogue, Anne-Marie Dermody in Ballyroan, and Karen Warren in Tallaght.

SF the only party that can contest for a second seat here. Incumbent Seán Crowe must be favourite to top the poll - but if the party can manage it's vote at all well, the prospects for Cllr Sarah Holland look reasonably good to me. Sinn Féin picked up 24 per cent of the vote here in the local elections and 30% in the by-election. 

Paul Murphy of the Socialist Party/Anti-Austerity Alliance, won the 2014 by-election. He has retained a high profile, in part because he will be on trial in a few months for allegedly falsely imprisoning Tánaiste Joan Burton during a water charges protest some months ago. The AAA had a good local elections and it would be surprising if Murphy was not returned.

Fianna Fáil lost both its seats in the old constituency in 2011. Cllr John Lehart defeated former TD Charlie O’Connor for the nomination. The party got 15% in the local elections and if he can do as well he will have enough votes to win a seat. However, I suspect it could be difficult.

Cllr Ronan McMahon, the son of former Fine Gael TD Larry McMahon, is the Renua candidate. He performed well in the local elections and took 9% in the by-election (ahead of FG, Lab, and FF). He can't be completely ruled out. Independent councillor Deirdre O'Donovan looks like the only other candidate with an existing base of support.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 i (Collins) + 1 of FF, Lab, AAA-PBP
Irish Times prediction: 2 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 AAA-PBP
Jas prediction: 2 SF (Crowe, Holland), 1 AAA-PBP (Murphy), 1 FG (Brophy), 1 FF (Lahart)
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 04, 2016, 02:12:13 am
Quote from: The Irish Times
Fine Gael Minister of State Michael Ring has signed off on €9 million in back payments in relation to agricultural land sold for road projects.

The so-called “goodwill payments” are to be paid to farmers and other landowners for not obstructing the compulsory purchase of land to facilitate national roads projects.

They entail a payment of €3,000 per acre, in addition to the overall market value of the transaction.


Mr Ring could not be reached yesterday for comment on the deal.

The deal is understood to be the culmination of a year’s negotiations with the IFA.

The €9 million relates to projects undertaken in the last four years.

They include the Slane bypass in Co Meath; the Galway city bypass; the Listowel bypass in Co Kerry; and roads in Co Mayo, Co Kildare, Co Cork, Co Limerick and Co Dublin.

There were also 62 minor projects, such as road straightening, often involving less than an acre of land, scattered throughout the country.

What fortuitous timing.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which National Parks have you been to? on: February 04, 2016, 01:51:37 am
Wicklow Mountains
The Burren

Peak District

Lake Malawi

South Luangwa

South Africa
Table Mountain


Victoria Falls
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 03, 2016, 05:16:36 am
Quote from: Michael Healy-Rae

19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 03, 2016, 05:00:10 am
The 31st Dáil has been dissolved.

The General Election has been confirmed for Friday, 26 February.

The 32nd Dáil will convene on Thursday, 10 March.

20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 03, 2016, 02:57:24 am
Dublin South-Central

Fine GaelCatherine Byrne TD
LabourEric Byrne TD
Fianna FáilCllr. Catherine Ardagh
Sinn FéinCllr. Maire Devine, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
AAA-PBPCllr. Bríd Smith
RenuaMichael Gargan
SocDemsLiam Coyne
GreenOisín Ó hAlmhain
Direct Democracy   Neville Bradley
Independents    Joan Collins TD, Cllr. Paul Hand, Richard Murray

Dublin SC is reduced to a 4-seater as 9,600 people from Terenure and to 3,000 in Kimmage are transferred to Dublin Bay South.

In 2011, in Dublin SC, Labour took 2 seats on 35%; FG took 1 seat on 23%; SF took 1 seat on 13%; Joan Collins, then of PBP, took 1 seat on 13%. FF polled 9.5%; the Greens 2%.

Labour will lose a seat here as Michael Conaghan is not running for re-election. Terenure-based Eric Byrne, who topped the poll last time, finds himself now living outside the constituency - and in a fight to try and hold one seat for the party. The boundary change doesn't help, but Eric Byrne has a long history in the constituency having now represented it for three parties, the Workers Party (1989-92), Democratic Left (1994-97) and Labour (2011-16) and been a candidate in every general election here since 1981, then for Sinn Féin (Workers' Party).

Four times he has been the last candidate standing not-elected. This time it will be close again. Labour did ok in the locals taking about 12% of the votes. Byrne will need a bit better than that to make it home.

FG's incumbent in Catherine Byrne, a TD since 2007. The expectation is that there is still close to a quota for the party in DSC.

SF's Aengus Ó Snodaigh is assuredly safe - and strong local elections have encouraged the party to put a second candidate in the field - Cllr. Maire Devine. SF would need to get very lucky to get both in, but Devine is likely to put down a good marker for next time.

The fourth seat last time was taken by Joan Collins, then of PBP - later independent - later United Left - and now independent again. Prominent in the water charges protests (she was arrested in the process), Collins is likely to have retained a significant personal vote and will be transfer-friendly.

Bríd Smith of AAA-PBP will be fishing in the same pool as Collins and SF. Twice elected to Dublin City Council - she contested the European elections in 2014 in Dublin taking 7% of the vote. She is a strong contender for a seat.

Cllr Catherine Ardagh, a solicitor and daughter of Sean Ardagh, who was TD 15 years, is the FF candidate. Her father topped the poll in 2007, when the party polled 33% and took the first two seats. I'd guess Ardagh with pull around half a quota, it's importance will be where those votes go next.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 i (Collins) + 1 of FF, Lab, AAA-PBP
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 AAA-PBP, 1 i (Collins)
Jas prediction: 1 SF (O Snodaigh), 1 FG (C. Byrne), 1 i (Collins), 1 AAA-PBP (Smith)
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 02, 2016, 02:25:41 pm
I would give strong preference to a candidate who ran on a simple platform of banning election posters.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 02, 2016, 08:28:49 am
Dublin North-West

Fine GaelCllr. Noel Rock
LabourJohn Lyons TD
Fianna FáilCllr. Paul McAuliffe
Sinn FéinCllr. Cathleen Carney Boud, Dessie Ellis TD
AAA-PBPCllr. Andrew Keegan
SocDemsRóisín Shortall TD
GreenCaroline Conroy
WorkersJimmy Dignam
Direct Democracy    Cormac McKay
Independent    Bernie Hughes

Dublin NW remains a 3-seater gaining 11,000 people in electoral divisions in Glasnevin and Drumcondra from Dublin Central.

In 2011, in Dublin NW, Labour took 2 seats on 43%; SF took 1 seat on 22%.
FG polled 17%; FF 12%; PBP 2%.

This was the only constituency were FG did not win a seat in 2011 - indeed, they haven't won a  seat here since 1992. That said there are those talking up their changes. Their candidate Noel Rock took a seat in Ballymun at the locals; and the additional territory into the constituency is likely to be FG friendly.

This was one of Labour's best constituencies last time out 2 of the 3 seats on a commanding 42% vote share. Since then though poll-topper Róisín Shortall has jumped ship to the new Social Democrats. John Lyons, one of Ireland's first elected gay TDs, was prominent in the marriage equality referendum - but its not a topic Labour are likely to be able to take much credit for on doorsteps. He faces pressure from other left candidates.

SF's Dessie Ellis is a given to be returned, interest will lie in whether the party can seriously contest for a second seat. A huge ask in a 3-seater - but shouldn't be completely discounted.

In 1997, 2002, and 2007, FF took 2 seats in this constituency - each time with 47-49% of the vote. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair... In 2011, Pat Carey fell to but 12% and was nowhere near contention. The 2014 locals suggest a marginal uptick - but not enough to suggest competitiveness.

Of the rest, Andrew Keegan of PBP is likely to be very transfer-friendly - but would need something spectacular to be truly in the running here.

Not content with just Dublin Central, Cormac McKay will also be contesting this constituency for Direct Democracy.

RTÉ prediction: 1 SF, 1 SocDem, + 1 other
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 SocDem
Jas prediction: 1 SF (Ellis), 1 SD (Shortall), 1 Lab (Lyons)
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 02, 2016, 05:26:17 am
Dublin Mid-West

Fine GaelFrances Fitzgerald TD, Derek Keating TD
LabourJoanna Tuffy TD
Fianna FáilJohn Curran
Sinn FéinCllr. Eoin Ó Broin
AAA-PBPCllr. Gino Kenny
SocDemsAnne-Marie McNally
WorkersLorraine Hennessy
Direct DemocracyChristopher Healy
Independent Alliance    Cllr. Paul Gogarty
Independent    Clare Leonard, Cllr. Francis Timmons, Michael Ellison

Dublin Mid-West has unchanged boundaries on 2011 and remains a 4-seater.

In 2011, in Dublin MW, FG took two seats on 31%; Labour also took two seats on 31%. FF and SF both polled 12%. PBP polled 6%; Paul Gogarty, then of the Greens, polled 3.5%.

FG's team are their incumbents. Minister for Justice, Francis Fitzgerald is not expected to face any problems for re-election. To get Keating in as well, I would think FG would need to climb a few more points in the polls, good vote management, and maybe get a bit lucky. That said, I note Paddy Power has Keating down as 3rd favourite to get a seat here - so they presumably know much more than I.

Joanna Tuffy of Labour topped the poll last time with more than 7,400 votes but faces much greater uncertainty this time. She was one of only two members of the then parliamentary party to vote against going into coalition with FG in 2011. Her constituency and party colleague Robert Dowds withdrew from seeking re-election in September assessing that the party could at best win one seat. The 2014 locals here saw Labour get 8% of the vote. She will need to pick up preferences from somewhere to stay competitive.

FF are running former TD and party chief whip John Curran. He topped the poll in 2007, but saw his vote share half in 2011 and finished 6th. Despite mediocre local elections, there seems to be some confidence locally that Curran will be in the hunt this time.

SF's candidate is their director of strategy, Eoin Ó Broin. In 2011, he was 550 votes short of Derek Keating for the final seat. National polling and the local election figures suggest it would be very surprising if Ó Bróin isn't elected quite possibly with a surplus that could be important.

Gino Kenny (AAA-PFP) polled 3% in 2007 and 6% in 2011. He's been on the local council for Clondalkin since 2009. As one would expect he's been campaigning for some time against water charges and the property tax. He will increase his first preference tally and will be transfer-friendly.

Of the rest, Paul Gogarty has abandoned the Greens in favour of Shane Ross's Independent Alliance. Elected to the council on 9% of the vote - he could put up a respectable vote total.

Clondalkin-based independent councillor Francis Timmons, campaigns on disability issues - should get a non-negligible return.

Anne-Marie McNally is standing for the Social Democrats, maybe this is a seat a newbie candidate could establish a reasonable voter pool to build on?

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF + 2 of FF, Lab, AAA-PBP
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 Lab, 1 i/O (?)
Jas prediction: 1 SF (Ó Bróin), 1 FG (Fitzgerald), 1 AAA-PBP (Kenny), 1 Lab (Tuffy)
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: February 01, 2016, 10:10:06 am
Dublin Fingal

Fine GaelAlan Farell TD, James Reilly TD
LabourBrendan Ryan TD
Fianna FáilLorraine Clifford-Lee, Sen. Darragh O'Brien
Sinn FéinLouise O’Reilly
AAA-PBPTerry Kelleher
RenuaCllr. Gerry Molloy
GreenJoe O’Brien
UnitedPeopleEnda Reynolds
Independent Alliance    Cllr. Tony Murphy
Independent    Clare Daly TD,  Cllr. Barry Martin, Roslyn Fuller

Dublin Fingal is the old Dublin North constituency plus it regains the Swords area (from Dublin West) and gains Portmarnock and Balgriffin from Dublin NE. It gains a seat to become a 5-seater.

In 2011, in Dublin North, FG took two seats on 31%; Labour 1 on 26%; and Clare Daly, then of the Socialist Party/United Left Alliance, the final seat from 15%. FF polled 15%, the Greens 8.5%.

All four incumbents are seeking re-election.

There doesn't seem to be much danger of Clare Daly's votes being reclaimed by the Socialist Party t/a AAA-PBP. This view is partly informed by the relatively poor showing of AAA candidates in the area in the 2014 local elections. Indeed, a proxy of Daly's perceived strength may be the effective defection of Cllr. Barry Martin from PBP to seemingly campaign as a second to Daly here.

SF didn't run a candidate in Dublin N in 2011 - their last general election outing in 2007 got them less than 3% of the vote. Things have changed. They got a councillor elected in each of Swords, Balbriggan, and Malahide-Howth in 2014 each on 10-14% of the vote. A similar showing by their neophyte candidate would certainly put her very close to a seat.

FF polled 15% in 2011 - that would all but guarantee them a seat this time with the lower quota threshold. Good local elections indicate that they should see a marginal improvement and so get O'Brien elected.

The lower quota target gives Brendan Ryan of Labour a better shot at re-election than most of his colleagues. Balbriggan was one of the only LEAs where Labour won a plurality of the vote in 2014, and the results in Swords and Malahide-Howth were not all that bad. Ryan could take a pretty  significant hit to his vote tally from 2011 and still be in contention here.

From 31% last time, FG could take a hit and with good vote management still be in the hunt for 2 seats. However, one suspects the hit could be too much, and if the 2011 returns are anything to go by - a relatively even vote split is unlikely.

It doesn't look like the Greens will be able to reclaim Trevor Sargent's seat here - indeed, it looks like one constituency where the party may do worse than in 2011. The rebuild will likely take a few more years.

On a trivial point, I learned here that DDI have a splinter group - UnitedPeople. No doubt they will be embraced by the masses...

RTÉ prediction: 1 i (Daly), 2 FG, 1 FF, 1 Lab
Irish Times prediction: 1 FG, 1 L, 1 FF, 1 SF, 1 i (Daly) 
Jas prediction: 1 i (Daly), 1 FG (Reilly), 1 FF (O'Brien), 1 Lab (Ryan), 1 SF (O'Reilly)
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election on: January 31, 2016, 09:16:12 am
Dublin Bay South

Fine GaelEoghan Murphy TD, Cllr. Kate O’Connell
LabourKevin Humphreys TD
Fianna FáilCllr. Jim O’Callaghan
Sinn FéinChris Andrews
AAA-PBPAnnette Mooney
RenuaLucinda Creighton TD
SocDemsGlenna Lynch
GreenEamon Ryan
Indepenent    Mannix Flynn

Dublin Bay South is a 4-seater constituency, it incorporates the former Dublin South–East constituency plus part of Dublin South–Central around Terenure and Harold's Cross.

In 2011, in Dublin SE, FG got 2 seats from 36% of the vote and Lab got 2 seats from 25%. FF polled 11%, the Greens 7%, SF 4%. Independent Mannix Flynn polled 3.6%.

The then incoming Government took all 4 seats in 2011 - change is very much on the cards this time. Labour lose to retirement Ruairí Quinn, who was first elected to the Dáil from here in 1977. Kevin Humphries will be attempting to defend his seat which he took 1,200 votes ahead of Chris Andrews in 2011.

Andrews is back - though now running for SF, having to depart FF under a cloud after being found to have posted anonymous tweets criticising his party leader and colleagues. He topped the poll for SF in Pembroke-South Dock in the locals. While he should improve SF's position here - a seat seems unlikely.

The other acrimonious departure in the constituency was Lucinda Creighton's from FG following the whipped Dáil abortion vote. Renua's manifesto has been drafted with her D4 constituency clearly in mind - and will presumably reward her with a seat, but it's less clear whether it will resonate elsewhere.

The second party leader contesting here - Eamon Ryan moves to a constituency that has historically been kind to the Greens. Ryan was a councillor here pre-2002. The Greens had some of their best local election results here in 2014 as well - and Ryan made a good run at a European seat. It would be surprising if Ryan isn't in the hunt.

FF's Jim O'Callaghan has never been a particularly effective vote-getter - so I doubt he'll be seriously in the running here. 

The FG ticket is led by Eoghan Murphy who seems like he may be the next generation's Leo Varadkar within the party. His seat is safe - whether his running mate can make it is much less clear. Cllr. O'Connell was the first candidate elected in Rathgar-Rathmines in the locals.

Independent Mannix Flynn has a stronger profile than most other independent councillors around the country. I expect he'll improve on his tally fro last time - but independents seem to have a tough time of it in this area, the last time one was elected was Noel Browne in 1957.

RTÉ prediction: 1 FG + 3 of Renua, Green, Labour, SF
Irish Times prediction:  1 FG, 1 Lab, 1 Green, 1 Renua
Jas prediction: 1 FG (Murphy), 1 Renua (Creighton), 1 Green (Ryan), 1 Lab (Humphries)
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