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Social Democrats’ Gary Gannon takes final seat in Dublin Central battleground

The constituency takes in a broad stretch of Dublin’s northside, from the inner city out to Smithfield, and north towards Ashtown and Drumcondra.

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GARY GANNON HAS won the final seat in Dublin Central after an intense battle, seen as a high-profile win for the Social Democrats.

At times less than 300 votes separated the candidates in line for the final seat – Gannon, former lord mayor Christy Burke, and Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick.

It was Burke’s 10th attempt at winning a Dáil seat.

The constituency takes in a broad stretch of Dublin’s northside, from the inner city out to Smithfield, and north towards Ashtown and Drumcondra.

It grew from a three to four-seater for this election. Historically, it was former taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s homeland, and the vote attached to Tony Gregory was key.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the ‘Mary Lou Monsoon’ continued in McDonald’s home constituency. The Sinn Féin leader took her seat on the first count with close to double the required quota of votes, coming in at 11,223.

The next biggest player was Fine Gael candidate and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who was left with just more than 4,000 votes.

From early on the Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan, elected to the city council for the first time just last year, was close behind.

She ultimately finished ahead of Donohoe.

A battle quickly emerged for the final seats between Gannon, Burke, and Fitzpatrick.

Burke performed relatively poorly on first preference votes, but was thrown into contention by McDonald’s surplus – meaning on the second count, less than 300 votes separated the three candidates.

This and subsequent counts saw candidates including Donohoe’s running mate and former Together For Yes manager Deirdre Duffy, presidential nomination hopeful Sarah Louise Mulligan, and former Labour minister Joe Costello eliminated.

It was ultimately the elimination of Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Gillian Brien that put Gannon firmly in line for the final seat.

5741Gary Gannon Gary Gannon Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Gannon is one of the most well-known candidates for the Social Democrats, having become a familiar face since he was elected to Dublin City Council in 2014 when was just 27 years old, joining the party the following the year.

He unsuccessfully ran in the European elections last year, receiving just more than 5% of first preference votes.

Recently he led a campaign to halt the sale of a former Magdalene laundry building to a Japanese hotel chain.

In comparison, Christy Burke is a veteran of the constituency. This is his tenth general election, having ran before in 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1997, 2009, 2011, and 2016.

He was first elected to the council in 1985. His heavy community involvement and work on the ground in the area is well-known to locals, but those further afield would remember him for his stint as Dublin Lord Mayor, which included interventions in the Garth Brooks saga.

annual-law-service Christy Burke Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Most recently he organised the installation of a memorial to Dubliners singer Luke Kelly.

Previously a Sinn Féin councillor, he split from the party in 2009. 

He spent time in prison for IRA membership during the 1970s, when he says he was “an active Republican”, and later became involved in Dublin’s ‘Concerned Parents Against Drugs’ movement in the early eighties. / YouTube

He was arrested alongside Tony Gregory while campaigning for Moore Street traders.

Also in contention was Mary Fitzpatrick, who has been vying for a seat in the area since what proved to be a controversial campaign in the area for Fianna Fáil in 2007.

european-parliamentary-elections Mary Fitzpatrick Niall Carson / PA Images Niall Carson / PA Images / PA Images

The Fianna Fáil result in the area proved hugely controversial: Fitzpatrick would have been seen as a shoe-in, taking the glut of Bertie Ahern’s second preference votes.

However, the former Taoiseach had other plans. Voters were instead advised to give their votes to Cyprian Brady, who ran Ahern’s constituency office.

Fitzpatrick received more first preference votes, but Brady slipped in on Ahern’s transfers and won the seat. Fitzpatrick has been unable to gain a seat since, but has remained on Dublin City Council since 2003, when she was co-opted.

90086022 Cyprian Brady (left) and Bertie Ahern. Albert Gonzalez / Photocall Ireland Albert Gonzalez / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

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