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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 11 August 2022

SF's Lynn Boylan 'considering' DBS by-election run and says other candidates 'doing themselves damage' online

The Sinn Féin Senator said her party would choose its candidate this week.

Boylan on the Plinth at Leinster House today.
Boylan on the Plinth at Leinster House today.
Image: The Journal

SINN FÉIN SENATOR Lynn Boylan has said she is “considering” putting her name forward to be chosen as the party’s candidate for the Dublin Bay South by-election. 

Boylan said this morning that party members in the area will select the candidate later this week, as she noted that she “started her life” in the south inner city. 

Sinn Féin currently has one TD for the constituency, Chris Andrews, but has not yet named a candidate for the by-election. 

Boylan said today that she has not decided whether her name would go forward but that she is considering it. 

“I am giving a consideration. I suppose I started my life as a child in the Iveagh Trust Buildings but whoever the candidate is in Dublin Bay South, whether it’s somebody else or my myself, I’ll be in there campaigning to make sure that we are returning a Sinn Féin TD for the constituency,” she said. 

I’ve thought about it and when the convention happens, whoever the candidate is we will be fighting a very strong campaign to make sure that we have two Sinn Féin TDs in Dublin Bay South. 

The by-election was caused by the decision of former Fine Gael minister Eoghan Murphy to step down as a TD. A date for the by-election has not yet been set but early July is believed to be favoured by the government. 

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour are among those to already confirm candidates but Boylan said she did not think Sinn Féin was late to the race.

“No I don’t think we’re late at all. I think actually the candidates that have been out have been doing themselves plenty of damage on social media,” she said.

“Look, we will select a candidate later this week and we will hit the ground running. It will be a very strong campaign led particularly on the issue of housing.”

She added:

I think this is a by-election and by-elections are a strange kettle of fish and people will be contesting and voting in this by-election on a number of issues, which would be to send a message to the government. People in Dublin Bay South have a very strong opportunity now to tell this government you’ve been failing on housing, and they want to change direction and I think that’s what will be in the minds of voters when they’re going into the polling stations. 

The current Senator and former MEP was speaking to reporters as she prepared to table a bill which aims to stop HAP payments from being included as income when calculating if someone is in need of legal aid.

She calls the inclusion of HAP “mean-spirited” and says it has led to issues such as people, more often than not women, turning to loan sharks to pay legal bills. 

“The Legal Aid Board were using a very mean-spirited interpretation of the regulations to exclude anybody who was on the Housing Assistance Payment, because that would be treated as income. It was because of a reference to ‘free or partially free board’ within the regulations. And what the Legal Aid Board was saying is that that is a benefit-in-kind, and that it must be taken as income,” Boylan said. 

The Senator said the government said in February that a specific inclusion of HAP was required within the regulations to address the issue but that this was changed on Friday, with guidelines changed to discount HAP. 

“I think what we need to know now is how we are going to identify all of the people who have been impacted by this. Some people may have lost custody of their children, some may have borrowed money from loan sharks and this disproportionately impacts women and survivors of domestic violence,” she said. 

The Senator added that she would be proceeding with the bill regardless of the change in guidelines because it “brings certainty”. 

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“I think we need to ensure that any form of discretion around housing supports needs to be removed,” she said. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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