‘Four in every ten voters switch from Fianna Fail–PD–Green government to Fine Gael–Labour ’
There were no boundary changes in this four seat constituency since 2007.
Here we saw the biggest swing in the entire country, with Fine Gael and Labour increasing their combined vote by a massive 39 per cent while Fianna Fail and the Greens dropped by 29 per cent. The retirement of former PD leader Mary Harney, who had taken 12 per cent of the votes in 2007, meant that four in every ten voters switched from the Fianna Fail –PD–Green government to the Fine Gael –Labour alternative. John Curran of Fianna Fail, government chief whip and seen as a rising star in 2007, lost his seat, while outgoing Green TD Paul Gogarty did not even reach a quarter of the quota, the figure needed to qualify for reimbursement of campaign expenses. Gogarty did at least leave on a high note, becoming the first TD to concede defeat via Twitter.
Fine Gael and Labour vied for supremacy here, with Fine Gael outpolling its future partner by just 76 votes. The 62 per cent of the votes won by the two parties proved enough to take all four seats, making this just one of five constituencies in the country left without an opposition TD. Labour’s Joanna Tuffy and Fine Gael Seanad leader Frances Fitzgerald, who had respectively taken the last seat and been the runner-up in 2007, now took the first two seats comfortably. Their fates on 9th March were rather different, Fitzgerald entering cabinet while Tuffy was left on the backbenches.
The second Labour candidate, Clondalkin-based Robert Dowds, attracted transfers from other candidates of the broad left and took the third seat. The fourth seat lay between Fine Gael’s Lucan-based Derek Keating, and Eoin Ó Broin of Sinn Fein, who had finished bottom of the poll in Dun Laoghaire in 2007. After the seventh count Ó Broin moved into third position, and the decisive elimination was that of Fianna Fail’s John Curran. Sinn Fein’s continued inability to attract large-scale transfers was a big factor here: Curran’s transfers went heavily to the three candidates of Fine Gael and Labour still in the count, with Ó Broin receiving fewer than 10 per cent of them, so Keating was elected with over 500 votes to spare.