‘All change as only one outgoing deputy returned.’
There were major Constituency Commission changes here since 2007. A population of 12,768 in the Swords-Forrest/Airport area was transferred to Dublin West, and a population of 9,021 in the Portmarnock and Balgriffin areas was transferred to Dublin North-East. However, the constituency did retain its four seats.
This was another good performance by Fine Gael with their vote up 17 points and with 1.6 quotas spread over the party’s two candidates they were in contention for two seats. Dr. James Reilly topped the poll and was over the quota on the first count for an impressive performance by the party’s deputy leader and health spokesperson. His running mate Alan Farrell failed to live up to his senior colleague’s performance but his 5,310 first preferences put him in the frame and over 1,100 votes ahead of his nearest rivals. Farrell’s first count lead proved to be sufficient as he went on to beat O’Brien for the final seat by 1,092 votes.
The Labour party’s vote was up 17 points on 2007 and with 1.3 quotas spread over the party’s two candidates they were well placed to take back the seat that they had lost in 2007. Outgoing Senator Brendan Ryan, whose brother Sean had previously held the Labour seat in this constituency, was just short of the quota on the first count and went on to take the second seat on the third count. Cllr Tom Kelleher polled just 6.5% and was never in contention.
This was another disastrous performance by Fianna Fáil with their vote down 27 points but with 0.8 quotas they should still have been in contention for a seat. But the party failed to recognise their precarious position which demanded a single candidate strategy and with both outgoing deputies contesting, their reduced vote was split between them and both lost out. Darragh O’Brien got 4,115 first preferences to leave him outside the frame with just 0.4 of a quota on the first count. Michael Kennedy had a similar performance winning just 3,519 first preferences. This left both of them too far off the pace and another double loss and another blank constituency for Fianna Fáil.
Clare Daly of the Socialist Party has been knocking on the door here for the last few elections. She was tipped to win a seat in 2007 but came up short. She made no mistake at this election as she was in 3rd place on the first count and she went on to take the third seat comfortably and became one of five TDs returned for the new United Left Alliance.
This was another poor performance by the Green Party with former leader Trevor Sargent losing his seat. Sargent was outside the frame in fifth place on the first count and was too far off the pace. He was eliminated on the fifth count with Farrell and Daly the main beneficiaries of his transfers.