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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

Big battle in Dublin Central as Maureen O'Sullivan confirms she's not seeking re-election

The three-seater has become a four-seater for the upcoming election.

Source: Maureen O'Sullivan TD/YouTube

INDEPENDENT MAUREEN O’SULLIVAN has announced she will not be seeking re-election in the upcoming general election, throwing the expanded Dublin Central constituency wide open.

O’Sullivan was first elected in a 2009 by-election following the death of her long-time colleague in the area Tony Gregory.

O’Sullivan previously campaigned under slogan ‘The Gregory Candidate’ and said today that it has been “an honour to serve Dublin Central and to have extended the Independent seat after Tony’s death”. 

“After much thinking and talking, I have decided not to stand in this election. It was a difficult decision to make especially after what’s been a very considerable and unprecedented legacy of almost 40 years of an Independent seat in Dublin Central – held by the late Tony Gregory for 27 years and by me for over 10 and a half years,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.

I’ve worked hard in those years and in a respectful way to raise constituency issues, especially for the north inner city, and also raise national and international issues.  

O’Sullivan made particular reference to issues including “addiction, mental health, disability, community empowerment and housing”. 

She thanked her own staff and Oireachtas staff for their work and also said that being part of the  Independents 4 Change group in the Dáil was “very positive”.

Extra seat

The boundaries of Dublin Central, which is in the north inner city in the capital, have changed numerous times in recent years and has at different times been a three, four or five-seater. 

In the previous general election it comprised three seats with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and O’Sullivan all elected.

Both O’Sullivan and Donohoe were elected on the 11th count with O’Sullivan actually securing the sixth-highest first preference vote but catching up on transfers to defeat Gary Gannon of the Social Democrats’ for the third and final seat. 

Donohoe had secured the second-highest first preference vote after McDonald. 

O’Sullivan’s decision to step aside will therefore be good news for Gannon who has been a councillor since 2014 and is again seeking a spot in the Dáil.

Tweet by @Gary Gannon Source: Gary Gannon/Twitter

Fianna Fáil will also be targeting a return in Dublin Central where Bertie Ahern was a TD for thirty years. During Ahern’s heyday the former taoiseach regularly helped a second Fianna Fáil candidate take a seat in the constituency. 

Longtime Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick is running for the party in the constituency again, having done so unsuccessfully on three previous occasions. 

Fitzpatrick famously claimed she had been “shafted” by the former taoiseach in the 2007 election after a late leaflet drop saw Cyprian Brady elected off a huge transfer from Ahern despite getting fewer first preferences than Fitzpatrick.

Former TD Joe Costello is running again for Labour in the constituency with councillor Neasa Hourigan a candidate for the Green Party. 

Also running are Christy Burke (Independent), Deirdre Duffy (Fine Gael), Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party), Rita Harrold (Solidarity) and Gillien Brien (PBP).

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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