Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown profile: Water charges and property tax lead concerns

FG-FF alliance may re-emerge if Labour bears brunt of voters’ anger

As part of changes to local government introduced by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will increase from a 28-seater to a 40-seater.

As part of changes to local government introduced by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will increase from a 28-seater to a 40-seater.


Full list of candidates

Water charges are top of the list of concerns for voters on the doorsteps of Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown, along with property tax – residents there pay some of the highest levels in the country.


Canvassers are often greeted at the door with “I know this isn’t your fault but” followed by a tirade about Government policy on taxes, unemployment, medical cards and health insurance.

Local issues include the ongoing parking problems in Dun Laoghaire and the loss of businesses in the town. The closure of Glenalbyn swimming pool late last year continues to be a concern to voters in Stillorgan. In Glencullen, recreational facilities for young families along with planning issues have been raised.

As part of changes to local government introduced by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will increase from a 28-seater to a 40-seater.

The logistical difficulties this would bring were considered by councillors last year. The current chamber in the town hall on Marine Road in Dún Laoghaire is a protected structure and so it was considered impossible to extend it. An ambitious plan to build a new chamber at a cost of €800,000 was examined but after an unfavourable public response it was dropped. Instead seating arrangements for councillors will be altered with smaller chairs and an extra tier of seating.

Each of the six electoral areas in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown will grow: the five-seats in Dundrum will increase to seven; Stillorgan and Blackrock will both go from four to six; Glencullen-Sandyford will go from four to seven; Dún Laoghaire from six to eight; and what was the Ballybrack area will be called Killiney-Shankill and will increase from five to six seats.

The changes mean, depending on turnout, candidates are likely to have lower quotas to reach than last time in order to be elected. The electoral division of Clonskeagh-Milltown will move from the Dundrum electoral area to Stillorgan also as part of the changes. Some 86 candidates have registered for the election and have until tomorrow to withdraw.

FG-Labour alliance
In the current council an alliance between Fine Gael and Labour has dominated decision- making, with 19 of the 28 members often voting en bloc. Though it could be said that council business over the term has run more efficiently as a result, it has sometimes meant little room for dissenting voices.

Fine Gael currently has 11 councillors and is running 21 candidates. It will miss long- time representative Donal Marren in the Killiney-Shankill area following his decision to retire. The party is hoping to at least maintain its numbers given the increase in the number of seats available.

Labour currently has eight seats and is running 12 candidates. Former minister for education Niamh Bhreathnach from Blackrock, who is retiring, will be a loss, but Jane Dillon Byrne, who has been at her post since 1974, hopes to continue her unbroken record in Dún Laoghaire. Labour hopes to maintain current numbers.

Controversial inclusion
At the last local elections in 2009 Fianna Fáil’s representation on the council fell from seven to four. The party is running 14 candidates this time around, including former Minister for Education Mary Hanafin, whose controversial last-minute inclusion was a surprise to the party locally.

Fianna Fáil hopes to return at least one candidate in each area though its canvassers are not feeling as loved on the doorsteps as might be expected for a party in opposition.

People Before Profit is running seven candidates, including sitting councillors Melissa Halpin and Hugh Lewis, and is hoping to at least double its representation.

The Green Party is running six candidates, including former Green councillor Tom Kivlehan, in a bid to regain some seats. Sinn Féin is also running six candidates and is hoping to break through, having been unsuccessful in the past.

There are 20 Independent hopefuls, including sitting Cllr Victor Boyhan in Blackrock and Cllr Tony Fox, formerly of Fianna Fáil, in Dundrum. Among the prospective new Independents, four members of the Dún Laoghaire Ratepayers’ Association have put themselves forward, bringing the candidate total to 21 for eight seats in Dún Laoghaire.

A new county manager will take up her position in June. Philomena Poole, formerly head of Louth County Council, will formally be in place this month, replacing Owen Keegan, who moved to Dublin City.

It is difficult to predict what the new council will look like given the effect of the increase in seats. There may well be a move toward alternatives including the Greens, People Before Profit, Independents and possibly a seat for Sinn Féin. And if Labour bears the brunt of voters’ ire as it seems to have done in recent polls the old Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown alliance of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael may re-emerge.



Full list of candidates



Blackrock (6)

Marie Baker* (FG)

Maurice Dockrell (FG)

Barry Ward* (FG)

Angela Collins Timlin (Lab)

Deirdre Kingston (Lab)

Celine Moorkens (GP)

Kate Feeney (FF)

Mary Hanafin (FF)

Victor Boyhan* (Ind)

Brian McNally (SF)

Lola Hynes (PBP)


Dún Laoghaire (8)

John Bailey* (FG)

Mary Fayne (FG)

Patricia Stewart* (FG)

Ellen O’Connor (FG)

Melisa Halpin* (PBP)

Karl Gill (PBP)

James McCann (FF)

Lisa Rogerson (FF)

Cormac Devlin* (FF)

Jane Dillon Byrne* (Lab)

Donna Pierce (Lab)

John Kane (Lab)

Ossian Smyth (GP)

John Paul Kearney (Ind)

Michael Merrigan (Ind)

Mary MacHale (Ind)

Anthony Kenny (Ind)

Peter Kerrigan (Ind)

Alan Patrick (Ind)

Rita O’Brien (Ind)

Jeannette Kavanagh (SF)


Dundrum (7)

Catherine Martin (GP)

Madeline Spiers (FG)

Brian Murphy (FG)

Pat Hand* (FG)

Jim O’Dea* (FG)

Anne Colgan (Ind)

Donal Fingelton (Ind)

Terence Corish (Ind)

Tony Fox* (Ind)

Seamas O’Neill (Ind)

Stephen O’Shea (Ind)

John O’Dowd (PBP)

Peter Leonard (Lab)

Grace Tallon* (Lab)

Tony Kelly (FF)

Sarah Ryan (FF)

Shay Brennan (FF)

Sorcha NicCormaic (SF)


Glencullen-Sandyford (7)

Aileen Eglington (FG)

Stewart Stephens (FG)

Neale Richmond* FG)

Tom Joyce* (FG)

Lettie McCarthy* (Lab)

Peter O’Brien (Lab)

Tom Kivlehan (GP)

Nicola Curry (PBP)

John C Byrne (FF)

Tom Murphy* (FF)

Chris Curran (SF)

Kevin Daly (Ind)

Lynsey McGovern (Ind)


Killiney-Shankill (6)

Maria Bailey* (FG)

Jim Gildea (FG)

Garrett McDermott (FG)

Simon Hall (Ind)

Carrie Smyth* (Lab)

Denis O’Callaghan* (Lab)

Hugh Lewis* (PBP)

Cillian Doyle (PBP)

Jennifer Cuffe ((FF)

Vinny Duran-Kearns (FF)

Shane O’Brien (SF)

Cara Augustenbord (GP)


Stillorgan (6)

John Kennedy (FG)

Barry Saul* (FG)

Josepha Madigan (FG)

Miriam Hennessy (GP)

Caitriona Lawlor (Ind)

Deirdre Donnelly (Ind)

Richard Humphreys* (Lab)

Gerry Horkan* (FF)

Liam Dockery (FF)

Simon Gillespie (SF)


* Sitting councillor