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Election 2014

Premature erections and very white teeth: Here's how Election 2014 is shaping up in Dublin

It’s the most geographically coherent of all the constituencies but the battle for three seats is a competitive one.

Dublin Nicky Ryan / Nicky Ryan / /

WHILE THE REST of the European election candidates have to contend with vast sprawling constituencies those running in Dublin have the advantage of being able to cover the entire three-seater in less than an hour in the car.

Of course that’s if they weren’t stopping at every point to hand out a few leaflets and throw up a few posters. In fact some candidates were so keen to throw up their faces on lampposts they did it a few days early – risking the wrath of the authorities.

Mary Fitzpatrick was first out of the blocks four days before she was legally allowed to do so. It was the first in a series of posters problems for the Fianna Fáil candidate. But it is the Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy who now faces fines for his premature erections.

Once the posters were allowed to go up everyone was dazzled by the whiteness of Brian Hayes‘s teeth. Fine Gael insisted it was all natural and that the junior minister just happens to have some very, very pearly white gnashers.

Fine Gaels Elections Posters Campaigns Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The campaign has been dominated by the same issues that candidates across the country have faced most notably water charges and the rising cost of living where the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ are left without a penny at the end of the month. The housing crisis in the capital has also come to the fore in recent weeks as well.

Several have reported the Shatter controversies coming on the doorstep, more than a few in Fine Gael lamenting the Minister’s departure while optimistically noting it will make matters easier on the doors.

After an early poll wobble, Hayes was cognisant of the need to up his game and has deployed well-trained canvassing teams across the capital. While he is well-positioned to take a seat, succeeding the retiring Gay Mitchell, the remaining two seats are likely to go to centre or left-leaning candidates.

Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan has no electoral track record of note and is widely unknown but she has performed competently during the campaign with the strong backing of the party’s star performer Mary Lou McDonald.

Gerry Adams’s arrest aside, the increasingly strong support that SF enjoys in the capital means Boylan is looking a certainty to take a seat leaving a real dogfight for that last spot in Brussels.

Fianna Fáil and Mary Fitzpatrick know that if they are to have a full recovery in the lead-up to the next general election then they need to do well in Dublin. Bluntly, that means taking a seat in the capital, anything else would not be party and more importantly the leadership of Micheál Martin. Serious questions will be asked if Fitzpatrick fails to win.

That said she was getting a relatively good reception when we spent the morning with her canvassing on Grafton Street, people appearing to appreciate the distance she has from the old guard of the party, namely Bertie Ahern whom she fell out with some years ago.

photo 2 copy Mary Fitzpatrick looks for votes from those getting off the Luas at Stephen's Green earlier today Hugh O'Connell / Hugh O'Connell / /

Elsewhere, there’s an interesting battle between Emer Costello, the sitting Labour MEP who replaced the retiring Pronsias de Rossa in 2012, and her former party colleague Nessa Childers, an independent MEP for the now abolished Ireland East.

Childers is likely to capitalise on the anti-Labour sentiment having quit the party in acrimonious circumstances last year and been a frequent critic of the government. But her early momentum appears to have tailed off in recent weeks to the benefit of Labour.

The junior coalition partner is touting Costello as ‘Dublin’s MEP’ rather than its own and pumping a lot of resources into her campaign, viewing her as the most realistic of Labour’s three candidates to retain their seat in the European Parliament.

A complete European Parliament wipeout for Labour is looking likely, but Costello could yet spring a surprise.

But the real dark horse could be Eamon Ryan, the Green party leader and former minister, who is known to be transfer friendly and has run a good if under the radar campaign.

He represents the Greens best hope of regaining national prominence and his transfer friendliness could be a real advantage when quotas aren’t reached and candidates start being eliminated.

Elsewhere on the left, the sitting Socialist Murphy, who took Joe Higgins seat in 2011, has run a good campaign with, ironically, eye-catching posters but is unlikely to take the seat.

Our Water is Not for Sale Public Conferen Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

This is partly because the ultra-left vote will split with another capable performer Bríd Smith (above) of People Before Profit who, along with Murphy, complained of having been cut from RTÉ coverage of an opinion poll.

Other candidates running in the capital are independent Jim Tallon, a serial candidate in several elections all over the country, Fís Nua’s Damon Wise. While Direct Democracy Ireland has adopted the odd strategy of running two candidates, Thomas Darcy and Raymond Whitehead.

Of the four, only one or both of the DDI’s two candidates have a chance of polling reasonably well given the new party’s strong performance in the Meath East by-election last year.

Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Ireland South

Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Midlands North West

Read all our Election 2014 coverage here > 

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