Boundary changes and internal rivalries mean heads will roll


COUNCIL PROFILE: DÚN LAOGHAIRE-RATHDOWN:BOUNDARY CHANGES in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown will ensure heads will roll after June 5th, and the battles are not just between parties but within them.

Across the local electoral area, candidates are reporting national politics issues are superseding local ones. But when coaxed, voters complain of the weeping sore that is Dún Laoghaire Baths and parking charges. Further inland, there are planning concerns in the Sandyford Industrial Estate and for the future of Airfield farm.

In Dún Laoghaire, all the sitting councillors are to run again, including three from Fine Gael – Mary Mitchell O’Connor, John Bailey and Tom O’Higgins – Gene Feighery of the Greens, Jane Dillon Byrne of Labour and Fianna Fáil’s Cormac Devlin.

Labour is running two other candidates in the ward and Peter O’Brien, PA to Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin is also running, so there will be a scrap here for the party core vote. Throw into the mix Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance, whose profile is high, and four Independents, and at least one, if not two, sitting councillors are sure to lose their seats.

The Blackrock ward is likely to see former education minister Niamh Bhreathnach (Lab) returned as well as Marie Baker (FG). Fianna Fáil has put forward sitting councillor Barry Conway and colleague Fred Gilligan. Councillor Ruairí Holohan (GP) will also run. However, the fourth seat may go to former PD councillor Victor Boyhan, now an Independent.

In Ballybrack, which has lost one seat in boundary changes, all the sitting councillors are running, so someone will have to go. Labour’s Denis O’Callaghan and Carrie Smyth look safe, as does Fine Gael’s Maria Bailey and Donal Marren. But Tom Kivlehan (GP) and Gareth Crowe (FF)may be vulnerable and at least one contender, Hugh Lewis of the People Against Profit Alliance could make a three-way battle for the fifth seat.

Fianna Fáil’s Trevor Matthews resigned in Dundrum and colleague councillor Tony Fox did not get the nomination. Aoife Brennan, daughter of the late Séamus Brennan, and former councillor Tony Kelly will run. But Fox intends to run as an Independent and the remaining four councillors, Aidan Culhane (Lab) Pat Hand (FG), Jim O’Leary (FG) and Terence Corish (GP) will also run. And the ward has lost a seat. The Fine Gael seats look safe and so does one Labour seat. The Fianna Fáil core vote may pull in Brennan, but the last seat could be a fight between Fox and Corish.

In Glencullen, councillors Lettie McCarthy (Lab) and Tom Joyce (FG) look safe. The anti-government backlash could hurt councillor John Byrne (FF), though the increased size in the ward, from three to four, may work in his favour. The Fine Gael lift could see Neale Richmond take a seat, but there was a strong Green vote last time and could bring in Adrianne Wyse.

The Stillorgan ward will gain a seat and councillor Louise Cosgrave (FG) may top the poll. Independent councillor Gearóid O’Keeffe topped the poll last time, but may have some votes taken by Independent Caitríona Lawlor. Councillor Gerry Horkan faces a battle from Labour’s Richard Humphreys, who could take the fourth seat.

How the parties stand