With less than a week to go to the General Election, thoughts of most voters inevitably turn to their local constituency and who will get their precious "Number 1". My own constituency of Dún Laoghaire is, as always, lining up to be an interesting competition. Two elections ago this was a five seater, in the last election it became a four-seater, and this time it is effectively a three seater with the automatic return of Seán Barrett having served as Ceann Comhairle. This will mean that our quota will be a lot higher than normal, thus making it more difficult to get elected.
Newstalk's Ivan Yates predicts that Mary Hanafin will win her old seat back, and that Mary Mitchell-O'Conner and Richard Boyd-Barrett will also win seats.
Fionán Sheehan in today's Irish Independent calls it as follows:
FG's Mary Mitchell-O'Connor will top the poll, followed by PBP's Richard Boyd-Barrett. The last seat is there for FF's Mary Hanafin to win, but not before seeing off FF's Cormac Devlin and FG's Maria Bailey.
Sheehan is not as sure as Yates about the last seat.
Most people agree that Labour will lose Éamon Gilmore's seat here. Gilmoire got a massive 11,468 votes in the last election, and was elected on the first count. Much of this was a personal vote - his retirement, combined with poor performance in the opinion polls points to a seat loss.
Sinn Féin may do well, but not enough to come near winning a seat. Fine Gael's Maria Bailey is also tipped to do well, she will surely be a more serious candidate in the next election following the probable retirement of Seán Barrett.
Probably the best indicator is the betting - Paddy Power calls it:
Mary Mitchell-O'Conner 1/14
Richard Boyd-Barrett 1/7
Mary Hanafin 8/15
Maria Bailey 13/8
Cormac Devlin 5/2
Carrie Smith 6/1
Me - I go along with Paddy Power and predict Boyd-Barrett, Mitchell-O'Conner, and Hanafin will take the seats