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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 28, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    Labour can’t wait

    Mary Minihan

    One of Labour’s Dublin South-East TDs Kevin Humphreys, tallying at the RDS, summed up the feeling in his party’s camp today: ‘To win a byelection and the presidency when you’re in Government: spectacular!’

    Of course neither result is even close to being confirmed, but Humphreys said some Labour people – of whom there were many in the RDS – were already thinking about going home at lunchtime. Michael D Higgins appears to be running away with the presidency, and he has Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness to thank for slaying the dragon (Sean Gallagher) and diverting transfers that were previously destined for the Independent candidate.

    Labour’s candidate in the byelection, Patrick Nulty, is the frontrunner in Dublin West, although Fianna Fail will be very happy with its result in the constituency, where respect for the late Brian Lenihan has delivered a more than respectable result. Not since 1982 (Noel Tracey for Fianna Fail) has a Government candidate won a byelection. It hasn’t been a Labour person since Brendan Halligan in 1976, I believe.

    Red T-shirts are everywhere in the RDS, and young Labour activists are hugging each other. It’s a bad day for Labour’s senior Government partner Fine Gael, of course. Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell is trailing badly. Not even ‘the Dubs’ are looking after their own, it seems. There are few Fine Gael big names at the RDS, although a uncharacteristically sombre looking Paschal Donohue is here. The party’s ever-professional tallymen are very quiet. Likewise in Dublin West, where the party candidate Eithne Loftus’ description of herself as the real Government candidate hasn’t worked.

    Independent David Norris has by no means disgraced himself, while the women candidates, Independents Mary Davis and Dana, have sunk without trace.

    • brian says:

      I think you blogger is misguided in believing the McGuinness was responsible ‘ for diverting transfers which were previously destines for the independent canditate’.

      McGuinness delivered 1st preferences.


    • Kynos says:

      Congratulations you have a new President.

      Now all you need’s a Republic.

    • seamus martin says:

      “He has Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness to thank for slaying the dragon.”
      It was the answer, not the question that killed off Gallagher. The dragon slayed himself.

    • Kynos says:

      Ah no sure I’m delighted for President-in-waiting Higgins. One of the few, the very few (single digits) Irish public figures I’ve a huge respect for. And kudos to all the candidates. To put yourself up for such ritual humiliation, personal cost in financial emotional physical mental and spiritual strain takes rare guts.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      All it means is that the general election is finsished as Lenihan should firstly have never stood and secondly should never have been elected.

      FF have no Dublin TDs and things are now as they should be.

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