Yesterday's Irish Independent declares that my own constituency, Dún Laoghaire, is the 'Group of death' and "will claim big scalps" in the General Election. Áine Kerr (political correspondent) writes about the possibility of Mary Mitchell-O'Connor (who so far is the only candidate to canvass my vote) pulling a surprise and taking a second seat for Fine Gael. While Fine Gael have had two seats here before when it was a five-seater (Monica Barnes and Seán Barrett) - winning two this time out will represent a major surprise. This constituency will be watched closely during the count - if Fine Gael win two seats here, they will have done extremely well countrywide.
My own thoughts are that Eamonn Gilmore and Seán Barrett will take the first two seats as predicted by all - after that it will be a dog-eat-dog scramble for votes to fill the last two seats. The contenders: Mary Hanafin (FF), Barry Andrews (FF), MMO'C (FG), Ivana Bacik (Labour), and Richard Boyd-Barrett (Celebrity Socialist) - no chance for anyone else including out-going Green Minister Ciarán Cuffe. I wonder are we the only constituency with two candidates with double-barrelled names?
An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI constituency poll predicts that Barrett and Gilmore are safe, and that Mary Hanafin looks good for the third seat. The poll also predicts that Ivana Bacik will edge out the others on transfers.
Five candidates for the two remaining seats - let's see what the bookies think.
|Election odds from PaddyPower.com at 0900, 19th Feb.
This is good news for Mary Hanafin (4/9) and she looks sure to take a seat, though she will be heavily dependent on transfers from Barry Andrews - the sequence of eliminations will be crucial here.
|Election odds from BoyleSports.com at 0915, 19th Feb.
BoyleSports offer very similar odds, though they predict (well their punters do so) that it will be a bit less comfortable for Mary Hanafin at 4/7. Interestingly PaddyPower are offering better value at 2/1 on Richard Boyd-Barrett while BoyleSports are at Evens. Both agree that Barry Andrews is the outsider, but that it is very close between the other four.
So how do I think it will go? Barrett and Gilmore will be first and second in that order. Since I'm voting for Mary Hanafin I both hope and expect that she will take the third seat - most likely to be elected on Barry Andrew's transfers. The fourth will go to Mary Mitchell-O'Connor - she will get a good surplus from Seán Barrett, and will also attract transfers from Barry Andrews. But her election depends on Ivana Bacik being eliminated before Boyd-Barrett as FG are likely to benefit more from Labour transfers. It it is the other way around - Bacik will take the seat.