Crowley set for massive victory in Ireland South
FG great chance of two seats
Labour’s Phil Prendergast, with just 6 per cent, looks certain to be eliminated.
Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley is set to romp to another massive victory in the Ireland South constituency with Sinn Féin in the running to pick up its first Euro seat in the region, according to the poll.
Most remarkable of all, however, is the prospect of Fine Gael winning two seats in the constituency with considerably fewer first preference votes than Fianna Fáil, which will only get one.
The Green Party has an outside chance of winning one seat but it is a long shot.
Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada looks certain to win a seat even if she gets a few points less than the 19 per cent indicated by the poll. With a quota of 20 per cent she looks to be comfortable.
Remarkable vote getter
Crowley has been a remarkable votegetter since he was first elected to Europe 20 years ago and he looks certain to repeat his poll-topping exploits this time around.
Podcast: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll
Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll on European candidates
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The poll gives him 31 per cent of the first preference vote, a full 11 percentage points over the quota. His surplus could well have a vital bearing on the destination of the final seat.
Unfortunately from Fianna Fáil’s point of view Crowley’s running mate, Kieran Hartley, the Waterford anti-pylon protester, is getting just 2 per cent of the vote. That means that Crowley’s surplus will be no good to him.
The candidate who will benefit most from Crowley’s surplus is Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly, who will move up significantly from his unspectacular 13 per cent first count performance.
Deirdre Clune will also benefit from the Crowley surplus, if not to the same extent as Kelly, but that should keep her ahead of her running mate, Simon Harris, who is just one point behind her on first preferences.
This is where the regional factor comes into play with Harris, who is based in the Leinster end of the predominantly Munster constituency, picking up very little on transfers.
While he does get transfers from his party running mates that will not help his cause as they are both likely to be ahead of him. Instead his transfers are likely to put Clune in contention.
If O’Sullivan can do as well as the poll indicates she could be in with an outside chance of spoiling the Fine Gael party and pulling off a real coup for the Greens.
As a Waterford-based candidate she will do well from Hartley’s elimination and is also doing well on second preferences from Labour’s Phil Prendergast.
Prendergast, with just 6 per cent, looks certain to be eliminated at some stage so the task for O’Sullivan will be to get ahead of Prendergast on the first count. If she manages that she could be in the final shake- up.
If it comes down to battle between Clune and O’Sullivan for the final seat the odds are that Clune will do it as she should have enough preference to keep her ahead. She could be elected with little more than half a quota on the final count.
If that happens it will prove a textbook exercise in vote management, with Fine Gael winning two seats out of four with 28 per cent of first preferences, and Fianna Fáil getting one with 33 per cent.