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A farmer, a teacher and JFK: meet the Dublin West by-election candidates

A total of 13 candidates are running for the seat vacated by the death of Brian Lenihan. TheJournal.ie runs the rule over all of them…

AS WELL AS voting in two referendums and the presidential election on Thursday, the constituents of Dublin West will be voting in a by-election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Brian Lenihan earlier this year.

In total 13 men and women are contesting the by-election with all the main parties running a candidate along with six independents including a former firefighter and a reality TV celebrity.

An internal poll carried out by Fine Gael has indicated that Labour’s Patrick Nulty will top the poll with 24.5 per cent of the vote, he is closely trailed by Fine Gael’s Eithne Loftus who is trailed by the Socialist Party’s Ruth Coppinger, according to the Irish Daily Mail.

A victory for a governing party in a by-election is unusual. Indeed the last time it happened was in 1982 when Noel Treacy won Galway East for Fianna Fáil.

Currently two members of the cabinet have their constituency in Dublin West, Transport Minister and Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar and Social Protection Minister and Labour TD Joan Burton. The Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins holds the third seat.

Battling it out for the fourth seat are, in no particular order:

David McGuinness, Fianna Fáil

This is the second time the Fingal County Councillor and Trinity graduate has contested the seat having run as  Lenihan’s running mate in the February general election, winning 1.5 per cent of the vote. He is keen to play on his association with Lenihan who was the only Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin to be returned at the last election. McGuinness has attacked the Labour candidate Patrick Nulty over his stance on Corporation Tax, accusing Nulty of wanting to raise it.

What the bookies say: fifth favourite at 18/1

Eithne Loftus, Fine Gael

The Fingal County Councillor was selected by local party members at a convention last month, beating Kieran Dennison. She was co-opted to her council seat in 2007 after it was vacated by Varadkar before winning it outright in 2009. Originally from Mayo, Loftus is formerly the chairperson of Fine Gael in Dublin West.  She has vowed to protect Connolly Hospital and its 24-hour Emergency Department.

What the bookies say: third favourite 3/1

Peadar Ó Ceallaigh, Fís Nua

Building surveyor Ó’Ceallaigh says he predicted Ireland’s current economic problems back in 2004/05 and says all issues of extreme urgency in this country revolve around the economy. He advocates no further cutbacks in the coming budget and promises that if elected he will place half of his TD’s salary into an inner city co-operative which already has 3,000 members.

What the bookies say: sixth favourite at 40/1

Roderic O’Gorman, Green Party

A third-level lecturer and originally from Mulhuddart in west Dublin, O’Gorman says he is campaigning on issues such as proper planning, adequate school places and public  transport provision. He has said that the government must commit to sustaining ‘green jobs’ as a legacy to the work left by Green Party leader and former Energy Minister Eamon Ryan.

What the bookies say: ninth favourite at 200/1

Patrick Nulty, Labour Party

A policy officer with a leading homeless charity, Nulty has been involved with Labour for nearly ten years and ran as Joan Burton’s running mate in February, finishing behind Lenihan with 6.3 per cent of the vote. His key policies include protecting free third level fees, and saving Connolly Hospital from any possible closure.

What the bookies say: favourite at 8/11

Paul Donnelly, Sinn Féin

The chairperson of Sinn Féin in Dublin and a member of the party’s Árd Chomhairle, Donnelly finished seventh in the general election with 6.1 per cent of the vote. He has pledged to vote against any budget that proposes to cut services while billions are paid to unsecure bondholders if elected. He has called on candidates to be upfront about their position on the future of Connolly Hospital.

What the bookies say: fourth favourite at 11/1

Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party

Secondary school teacher Coppinger is looking to secure a second seat for her party in Dublin West alongside party stalwart Joe Higgins and their third overall in the Dáil. She says she rejects “so-called solutions” to the economic crises and believes that the current austerity measures are not working. She says she will stand against any cuts to Connolly Hospital if elected.

What the bookies say: second favourite at 5/2

Gary Bermingham, independent

Bermingham is an artist who is perhaps better known for his guise as ‘Councillor’ Terry Ghusto who jokingly ran in the general election against what he called the “shamrocracy” of Ireland as it is. Though he did not appear on the ballot paper that time, he has put his name forward this time around saying he wants to tackle issues at a local level.

What the bookies say: seventh favourite at 100/1

Benny Cooney, independent

FÁS employee Benny Cooney is contesting his fourth election having most recently run in the general election in both Dublin Central and his native Longford-Westmeath constituency. He campaigns against further cuts to the weekly incomes especially of low earners and has called for protection for mortgage holders in financial difficulties.

What the bookies say: ninth favourite at 200/1

Brendan Doris, independent

Architect Doris lives in Lucan and describes himself as a prominent student leader in the 1970s and 1980s. He is looking to empower voters if elected and make them the decision maker s,saying he represents The People’s Convention which does not operate like normal political parties. He claims that for 90 years, Irish citizens have been denied of the right to direct the affairs of the State.

What the bookies say: ninth favourite at 200/1

Barry Caesar Hunt, independent

A barber and former Apprentice contestant, Hunt is standing in his first election. He runs a barbershop in Blanchardstown and is of the view that “a member of Dáil Éireann can achieve and change more in one day than most can do in a life time”.

What the bookies say: eighth favourite at 125/1

John Frank Kidd, independent

Retired firefighter and chairman of the Irish Firefighters and Emergency Services Association, Kidd is campaigning for a national fire and ambulance service and wants to stop cuts to frontline services as well as Connolly Hospital. He also addresses issues related to Dublin’s taxi service and debt forgiveness in his manifesto.

What the bookies say: ninth favourite at 200/1

Jim Tallon, independent

No picture available

A farmer from Arklow in Co Wicklow, Tallon has contested six general elections in several constituencies since 1981. Most recently he was eliminated on the third count in Wicklow in the last general election. Little is known about Tallon’s views or policies. There is an unusual YouTube video of him posted in 2007 where he pretends to be Knight Rider.

What the bookies say: ninth favourite at 200/1

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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