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The groups of death: four constituencies to watch as the votes come in

TheJournal.ie’s pick of four constituencies worth keeping an eye on as the votes are counted.

Our pick of four constituences that will be worth watching as the votes come in on Saturday.

1. Dún Laoghaire

It’s not for nothing Dún Laoghaire – a four seater – has been nicknamed the “group of death”. As the results of the outcome of tomorrow’s vote become clear on Saturday, pundits believe it will give an indication of Fine Gael’s chances of forming a single-party government nationally.

If the party manages to elect both its candidates – Seán Barrett and former PD Mary Mitchell O’Connor – it looks good for Fine Gael nationally.

If Labour leader Eamon Gilmore manages to bring in his running mate, Seantor Ivana Bacik, then some observers believe this will mean an FG/Lab coalition is likely.

Also running in the constituency are Fianna Fáil’s Mary Hanafin and Barry Andrews; Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe, and left wing activist Richard Boyd Barrett, alongside Daire Fitzgerald of the Christian Solidarity Party and five Independents.

Polls have suggested Fianna Fail has enough support to bring in one of its deputies, but probably not both.

See the full list of candidates in the Constituency here or have your say by voting in the Boards.ie poll >

2. Longford-Westmeath

Another hotly contested four seater, Longford Westmeath looks safest for Labour’s Willie Penrose, who topped the poll in 2007, and and Fine Gael’s James Bannon.

Fianna Fáil’s Mary O’Rourke will be fighting hard to hold onto her seat, as will the Longford-based Peter Kelly. FF is fielding three candidates in all: Robert Troy, the youngest councillor on Westmeath County Countil will be joining them on the ballot sheet.

But Mary O’Rourke will have to fight off former FF member, and now Independent, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, who is expected to take some of her votes.

Fine Gael will also be hoping it can take a second seat, either through Senator Nicky McFadden or Mullingar councillor Peter Burke.

Sinn Fein candidate Paul Hogan is also standing, and is expected to do well. Also running for Labour in the constituency is former PD, Mae Sexton; Siobhan Kinihan is running for the Green Party; and there are five independents in total.

See the full list of candidates in the Constituency here or have your say by voting in the Boards.ie poll >

3. Cork North Central

Cork North Central is another four seater with 15 candidates and a wide range of possible outcomes, since Fine Gael’s Bernard Allen and Fianna Fáil’s Noel O’Flynn are not standing again in the constituency.

In Allen’s place, Fine Gael is running two first time candidates – councillors Pat Burton from Blarney and former lord mayor Dara Murphy – and at least one of these is considered likely to win a seat.

But the main beneficiaries of Allen’s decision not to stand could end up being Labour’s Kathleen Lynch, Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan O’Brien, and Mick Barry of the Socialist Party.

Barry could have a fight on his hand for the last seat,  with Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher and Labour Councillor John Gilroy both also in contention.

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See the full list of candidates in the Constituency here or have your say by voting in the Boards.ie poll >

4. Laois-Offaly

Laois-Offaly, a 5 seater with 21 candidates, was the scene of a certain amount of bloodshed before the campaign even got underway.

Last December, the Labour Party experienced a public meltdown over the decision to select the former editor of the Leinster Express, John Whelan, in the place of four other party activists, who had intended to contest the convention.

Liam Dumpleton left the party and is standing as an Independent.

After a row within Fianna Fail, the Taoiseach’s brother, Councillor Barry Cowen, was selected earlier this month to run for the party and is expected to hold onto the ‘Cowen seat’.

He will be joined by two sitting TDs from Laois – former junior minister John Moloney, and Sean Fleming – after Fianna Fáil rowed back from its earlier decision to run just two candidates in total: one from Laois, and one from Offaly. Pundits believe the party can hold onto one of these seats at most.

Councillor John Foley from Edenderry, who polled 5,899 first preference votes for Fianna Fáil in the constituency in 2007 – missing out on a seat by just 400 votes – will be running as an Independent, following a row with the Fianna Fail leader, Michéal Martin, over the decision.

Fine Gael is running four candidates: Laois-based Charlie Flanagan, who is likely to top the poll; councillor John Moran, and in Offaly, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy or councillor Liam Quinn are considered likely to replace Olwyn Enright who’s not standing.

Sinn Fein is running councillor Brian Stanley in Laois, while the remaining candidates include Ireland’s first black mayor, Rotimi Adebari from Nigeria and so called ‘rebel cleric’, Michael Cox.

See the full list of candidates in the constituency here or have you say in the Boards.ie poll >

About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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