Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reilly ups the ante

In Friday's paper, Mary Minihan reports that Fine Gael are aiming for at least 70 seats in the next general election, with 20 of those in Dublin. With the party already on 51 seats, that means finding an additional 19 seats throughout the county with a doubling of their Dublin representation from the 2007 election. To my mind the first part is plausible but the second is ludicrous.

With a target of only 9 seats outside Dublin, it seems to me that Fine Gael have already capitulated to a Fianna Fáil recovery of sorts in the rest of the country. There are 31 constituencies beyond the Pale most of which have two FF TDs at present. FG should be drawing up a list of 15-20 of these 2nd FFers and targeting them. With Labour's world renowned poor organisation outside of Dublin, FG should be sweeping all before them in its traditional heartland.

In Dublin the position is the opposite. At the moment, Lab is polling way ahead of FG and have the members on the ground to take advantage of the anti-FF swing. In 2007, FG got about 20% of the vote and about 21% of the seats. However, in most constituencies they only ran a single candidate and so in order to win a second seat, additional candidates will need to be added. After the local elections, FG now have a smattering of new faces such as Eoghan Murphy in Dublin South East, but you can be sure that sitting TDs who relied on transfers to get elected in 2007 will be fighting tooth and nail against a strong running mate.

In terms of gains in Dublin, currently FG have no seat in Dublin Central, Dublin Mid West and Dublin North West. Paschal O'Donohue and Frances Fitzgerald should pick up seats in the next election but Bill Tormey will find it hard in Dublin North West. In the locals he polled close to 13% but was outgunned by SF and Lab. It is hard to see both FFs losing their seats so seeing FG gain at the expense of SF or a 2nd Lab seat. Reilly will not bring in a running mate in Dublin North as Lab will retake the seat and Sargent will hold on despite a tough challenge from the Socialists. North Central and North East as two small 3 seaters do not have enough FG votes to win a second. Although Dublin West gains an extra seat it will be taken by Joe Higgins.

On the southside of the city things don't look much better. Had George Lee hung around, Dublin South could have returned three FG seats, but with his departure that now looks unlikely. Dun Laoghaoire going to 4, facing two ministers, another party leader and a strong PBP candidate is not going to work either. South Central will comfortably return Catherine Byrne with the votes from the leafy Terenure end of the constituency but will otherwise be hostile territory with Lab, SF and PBP all looking to mop up the working class vote in Crumlin, Ballyfermot and Drimnagh. It is impossible to see 2 quotas or anything close in South West and as I previously posted I don't see FG winning a 2nd in South East either.

That gives a grand total of 2 gains. Lets be generous and say that they grab another 3 that I have ruled out (say DS, DSE and DNW). That is still only half the target Reilly set which must be seen as either a failure of his deputy leadership or else that an impossible target was set for him by the party strategists. Either way I'd rather not be in his shoes on the day after the count, having failed to deliver the required seats in the capital to allow Enda sweep to power.

No comments:

Post a Comment