Saturday, May 26, 2007


A look at some constituency results

Well the results are almost complete as Fianna Fáil appear set for government - quite possibly with the Greens if the latest murmurings are to be believed - and with that being said I figured I'd give my thoughts on a number of the constituency results.

The big shock of yesterday was obviously Michael McDowell losing his seat in Dublin South East. Last night PD party president Tom Parlon admitted he heard a big cheer in a pub in Birr, Co Offaly, when it was announced that McDowell had lost out. I'm sure similar celebrations took place in pubs and homes across the country too! I feel Irish politics is well better off without him. I took the liberty of checking some of my past Words on Wednesday features and specifically the word association for Mr McDowell's name. Here is what some of the politicians said about the PD leader...

"Hubris" - Pat Rabbitte, Labour

"Spiteful" - Dan Boyle, Greens

"Failure" - Tony Gregory, Independent

Fresh insight for you there into how Mr McDowell was viewed. Speaking of my past interviews, here is how the TDs I have interviewed in the past have performed in this year's General Election:

Catherine Murphy, Independent, Kildare North

Result: Seat lost

I asked Ms Murphy back in April if she was confident of hanging on to her seat. She replied, "I am hopeful. There is an extra seat in the constituency however it will be competitive like all elections". In the end she fell just short as 2 of the 4 seats went to Fianna Fáil, with Fine Gael and Labour taking the others. Speaking today Ms Murphy said she had realised in the final week of canvassing that there was a definite swing towards Fianna Fail. My commiserations to her at this time.

Tony Gregory, Independent, Dublin Central

Result: Re-elected

Tony Gregory wasn't willing to make any predictions on how things would go when I interviewed him, although in newspapers he expressed the view that he felt he would lose his seat. This was the constituency in which Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald was tipped to land a seat. In the end she didn't make it and Mr Gregory retained his seat. Congratulations to him.

Arthur Morgan, Sinn Féin, Louth

Result: Re-elected

It was a bad election for the Shinners but Mr Morgan's re-election will prove some comfort. It was a bit of a scrap for Mr Morgan but he had told me he was quietly confident of retaining his seat and in the end he did so. Well done to him.

Tommy Broughan, Labour, Dublin North East

Result: Re-elected

Tommy had to wait a bit for his result but he managed to retain his seat in Dublin North East. I asked Mr Broughan some months back how he felt things would go in the election and he told me, "It will be very tough in Dublin North East this time round, as it always is...There will be a major challenge from Fine Gael and Sinn Fein and I also think that we shouldn't underestimate the Greens". In the end the seats went to Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Tommy took the other seat for Labour. Congratulations Tommy.

Joan Burton, Labour, Dublin West

Result: Re-elected

Ms Burton told me it would be a tight race to retain her seat and that turned out to be the case. In the end Ms Burton pipped the Socialist' Party's Joe Higgins who lost out as Fianna Fáil's Brian Lenihan and Fine Gael newcomer Leo Varadkar took the other seats. I congratulate Ms Burton on her win but I must say I'm terribly disappointed that Mr Higgins has lost out as he is in my opinion one of the best and most diligent politicians in the country. For him to lose a seat is pretty disgraceful as far as I'm concerned and further proof that this country hasn't got its priorities right.

Dan Boyle, Greens, Cork South Central

Result: Seat lost

Dan Boyle had a disappointing time of things as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael bagged two seats each with Labour taking the remainder. Cork South Central illustrates pretty much what happened nationally with the smaller parties squeezed out by the big two. My commiserations to Mr Boyle.

Ciarán Cuffe, Greens, Dun Laoghaire

Result: Re-elected

It was a real battle for Mr Cuffe in this 5 seater constituency but in the end he pipped the Independent Richard Boyd Barrett to hang on to his seat. I'm pleased for Mr Cuffe as he seems like one of the good ones.

Pat Rabbitte, Labour leader, Dublin South West

Result: Re-elected

Mr Rabbitte retained his seat for Labour in Dublin South West following the second count. It's been a disappointing election overall for Mr Rabbitte but it looks like his party could still wind up in coalition with Fianna Fáil. Since he has repeatedly refuted such talk however it might mean Mr Rabbitte will have to step down in order to facilitate such a situation. Time will tell.

General thoughts:

I feel it's been a really interesting election overall with a hell of a lot of shocks. McDowell losing his seat is not something I had anticipated but I'm delighted that it's happened. I think Joe Higgins losing his seat is an absolute travesty. Tom Parlon looks like he's lost his seat for the PDs and I hope that proves to be the case. Liz O'Donnell, Deputy leader of the PDs, losing her seat is another surprise. I'm not as hostile towards Ms O'Donnell as I am her other party colleagues so I offer my commiserations to her.

I'll likely make some more observations on the election over the next few days but I'm left agreeing with a Fine Gael TD from Mayo who yesterday said that the people of the west had voted for change whilst the people of Dublin had prevented this from happening. That is a fair assessment and my fellow Dubliners have rallied behind Bertie "I'm one o' da lads" Ahern. I'd like the rest of the country to know however that not all us Dubs are enamoured with these clowns and that some of us, myself certainly, are gutted at the way things have turned out. T'was an opportunity to make real change and it was an opportunity utterly wasted.


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