Christy Burke to run for Sinn Fein


DUBLIN CENTRAL:SINN FÉIN has chosen its longest-serving councillor, Christy Burke, to run in the Dublin Central byelection caused by the death of Independent TD Tony Gregory.

Mr Burke, who was selected unopposed at a party convention yesterday afternoon, said the economic crisis was causing fear in the inner-city constituency.

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald urged voters to back Mr Burke, saying that he is "the best left-wing candidate in the field".

Sinn Féin had considered running Ms McDonald for the seat, but the Government's late decision to hold the byelection on the same day as the European elections closed down that option.

So far, Fine Gael's Senator Paschal Donohoe is the generally accepted frontrunner in the race, although Labour's Senator Ivana Bacik was recently nominated.

Implicitly criticising Senator Bacik, who does not live in Dublin Central, Cllr Burke said: "I'll still be in the constituency the morning after the election representing my constituents in Dublin Central. The constituency is crying out for jobs, security, the return of the Christmas bonus and for changes to fixed-rate mortgages for couples trying to get out of a trap," he said.

Cllr Burke is pinning his hopes on a belief that long-time supporters of the late Mr Gregory will choose him over the Gregory organisation's candidate, Cllr Maureen O'Sullivan, or, at least, that he will benefit from her transfers if she is eliminated first.

Fianna Fáil is running Cllr Maurice Ahern, the brother of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, but Mr Burke said the latter's election skills are not succeeding now.

"I met four very elderly women outside Aughrim Street Church who were letting the former taoiseach know how they'll be voting. And they made it clear that they wouldn't be voting for Fianna Fáil," he said.