|Total Valid Poll||657498|
South - 4 seats
|Ind||Cahill, Richard||10719||Eliminated (5th count)|
|FG||Clune, Deirdre||47453||Elected (12th count)|
|FF||Crowley, Brian||180329||Elected (1st count)|
|Ind||Godsil, Jillian||9179||Eliminated (4th count)|
|FG||Harris, Simon||51483||Eliminated (12th count)|
|FF||Hartley, Kieran||29987||Eliminated (11th count)|
|CD||Heaney, Theresa||13569||Eliminated (6th count)|
|FG||Kelly, Seán||83520||Elected (12th count)|
|SF||Ní Riada, Liadh||125309||Elected (4th count)|
|FN||Ó Ríordáin, Dónal||1634||Eliminated (2nd count)|
|Ind||O'Flynn, Diarmuid||30323||Eliminated (10th count)|
|Ind||O'Loughlin, Peter||6561||Eliminated (2nd count)|
|GP||O'Sullivan, Grace||27860||Eliminated (8th count)|
|Lab||Prendergast, Phil||30317||Eliminated (9th count)|
|DDI||Van De Ven, Jan||9255||Eliminated (3rd count)|
Another behemoth of a constituency, with 10 counties in total, taking in the whole of Munster and the four southern counties of Leinster. With former East MEP Nessa Childers moving to Dublin, it means that there is a paucity of candidates in Leinster with the majority of candidates being bunched in the counties of Cork and Kerry. No matter how badly Fianna Fáil perform in this election (and they were no great shakes in 2009) they have one banker in Brian Crowley. Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly also looks like he will be elected without difficulty. If you applied the General Election results from the ten counties here it would be easy. Fine Gael got 38.2 per cent of the vote; Fianna Fáil 19 per cent; Labour 18.5 per cent and Sinn Féin got 7.9 per cent.
That's two quotas for FG and one each for Fianna Fáil and Labour. But the pendulum has swung since then and Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada looks like she could double the percentage vote. Labour's support levels have fallen and Phil Prendergast has a real battle on her hands. A word of caution on Sinn Féin - opinion polls have tended to overestimate its level of support in all elections. Toireas Ferris won 13 per cent in 2009 but still finished fifth. What may work in Ní Riada's favour is that it's a relatively small field. With the second Fianna Fáil candidate Kieran Hartley not showing strong yet, Prendergast is her most serious rival and she could be elected without reaching the quota.
Isuess: They don't really vary in the two non-Dublin constituencies. Fishing, agriculture when it comes to the parliament - on the domestic front it is property taxes, water charges, pylons (a big issue), Ireland's relationship with Europe, and the Government's economic policies.
Brian Crowley, Fianna Fáil Seeking his fifth term as an MEP, Crowley is assured of reelection. The popularity of this Cork MEP is a phenomenon, decoupled completely from how well or badly Fianna Fáil is faring in terms of popular support. His people skills are astonishing - there are few better in one-to-one situations and his familiarity with voters' names and families is impressive, given the size of the electorate. As an MEP he hasn't made any truly memorable speeches or been involved in any big political project. He was the joint head of a small group with which Fianna Fáil was affiliated in the parliament and resisted the party's decision to join the larger liberal group. He had differences with the party leadership over his possible candidacy for the presidential elections. He has recovered from a period of illness in recent years where he underwent a series of operations to deal with issues arising from the teenage accident three decades ago that left his lower limbs paralysed.
Sean Kelly, Fine Gael There's nothing that Fine Gael loves more than 'celebrity' candidates and few come more perfectly formed than the former President of the GAA. Nationally recognised, and with the strong sporting connections, Kelly was always going to present an electable proposition. Now seeking a second term, the Kerry MEP is the front-runner of a three-person team, which might win the party two seats out of the four. Like most of his fellow MEPs, Kelly has focused his parliamentary work on agriculture, fisheries, and on rural and community development. His energy and focus as a GAA administrator/politician has not been wasted and he certainly gets around the political ligging circuit. There have been few significant Fine Gael events in recent years, even at local level, without him making an appearance.
Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael Clune represents her party's best chance of a second seat, even though her close geographic proximity to Kelly might go against her, given the vast size of the constituency. From a political party (her father, Peter Barry was deputy leader of Fine Gael and a senior government minister), she herself has had mixed electoral success. She lost her Dáil seat in 2011 despite a Fine Gael upsurge - but the reasons for that boiled down to a straight contest between her and colleague Jerry Buttimer for the second Fine Gael seat. Buttimer has since consolidated his position and it would be an uphill struggle for her to dislodge him. She is one of the quieter politicians in Leinster House and is not extrovert by nature. She has not really been associated with any one big campaign or issue but taken more strident and interesting positions on issues since her candidacy was announced. Fine Gael is the most pro-European party and like her colleagues, her views on Europe and Brussels reflect that orthodoxy.
Simon Harris, Fine Gael The youngest TD in the Dáil when he was elected in 2011, Harris did not allow his relative youth to constrain him in any way. While some colleagues think there's too much of the goody-goody Boy Scout to him, he has been an impressive performer in parliament and in committee. He trained as a journalist and has used those skills adeptly in building up a high media profile. Harris came slightly late into the race but has wasted little time in trying to make up the ground. He is the only one of the three Fine Gaelers in the Leinster part of the constituency. While some colleagues would have preferred a person with an agricultural connection rather than the urbane Harris, he is still targeting the Fine Gael farming vote in Leinster (if George Lee can do it for RTE, why can't he! ouch!). He is essentially a party loyalist and his views are accordingly strongly pro-EU.
Phil Prendergast, Labour Alan Kelly had a terrific success for Labour here in 2009. He didn't do spectacularly well on first preferences but was a magnet for transfers. It puts Prendergast's difficulties in perspective. And the downslide in Labour support is compounded by her being a substitute - she replaced Kelly in 2011 when he was elected to the Dáil. She has been an active MEP and her record belies her relative newness to parliament. On the face of it, it's not looking good. But Prendergast should not be written off completely. Using a device mastered by another South Tipperary politician, she began her campaign by calling for Eamon Gilmore to stand down as leader. That may have been a Pavlovian reaction to an early and dismal (and maybe not entirely spot-on) opinion poll finding that put her down at 3 per cent. Maybe it's part of a slightly clever wider strategy to campaign against the Government while being a member of the Government. Nessa Childers decision to move constituency to Dublin will do her no harm. South is more open and the fourth seat is all to play for. But Prendergast is still a long shot.
Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin Ní Riada had little political profile and no deep involvement in politics prior to her selection. A native speaker from Cúil Aodha, she is one of 10 children of Seán Ó Riada, who composed some extraordinary work before his death at the young age 40, when she was a young child, In spite of her political neophyte status, Ní Riada has wide experience as a television producer and documentary-maker and has certainly not been intimidated in her first outings. In that sense, she is a little like her colleague Trevor O Clochartaigh who comes from a similar background in television. That said, she has no political track record to speak off and it is impossible to assess her merits or wherewithal on the basis of a few sound-bytes. The O Riada name will have certain cache but only some. Sinn Féin's strategy has been to gamble on its brand-name rather than on the profile of the candidate. Twenty per cent is still a big ask - for O Liadha to get there she will to get around 14 per cent of the vote and for there to be enough of a gap between her and her closest rivals for the last seat. She should be strong on fishing and farming. Will present the standard Sinn Féin views on other issues from the Troika to pylons. If the recent arrest of Gerry Adams acts as a deterrent to transfers, she will be the most affected of the three Sinn Féin candidates.
Kieran Hartley, Fianna Fáil A surprise choice by Fianna Fáil, the Waterford-based Hartley is best known as a leading campaigner against pylons. With all major decisions on the Eirgrid project being delayed until well after the election, is this really going to be the major issue that it seemed several months ago? The early evidence is that Hartley has not yet made a major impact. A major hurdle for him is the sheer reach and vote-getting ability of his running mate Brian Crowley. Remember Crowley's running mate in 2009, the well-known TD Ned O'Keeffe, only got 3.3 per cent of the vote. Another challenge for Hartley is to extend his appeal beyond the pylon issue, and to be seen as Fianna Fáil first, pylons second. It's not certain if that transition has happened yet. At this stage, he does not look like he will be in the mix.
Diarmuid O'Flynn, Independent/Ballyhea Says No The Irish Examiner sports journalist has been involved in an extraordinary campaign over the past three years. Ballyhea Says No is a ground-up protest against the Troika and saving bondholders that began in his parish in Cork and had built up a very strong and loyal following. Irrespective of one's views on the merits of its arguments, the spirit behind Ballyhea Says No is admirable, a kind of peasants' rebellion for our times. O'Flynn himself has been highly motivated and his commitment and his sentiments come across strongly in interviews. The message is a simple one - anti-Troika, anti-austerity, and anti-European institutions (the faceless ones). Ergo, the movement is anti-establishment. Far from being a marginal also-ran, O'Flynn could do surprisingly well.
Grace O'Sullivan, Green Party Another newcomer to the political scene but she has an impressive environmental track record extending back over a quarter of a century. A leading member of Greenpeace, O' Sullivan was a member of the crew of the Rainbow Warrior for ten years, and was aboard when it was attacked trying to sabotage whaling operations. A former Irish surfing champion to boot, Tramore-based candidate has focused her campaign, unsurprisingly, on environmental issues. Her credentials and articulacy make her an attractive candidate. The party once had an MEP in the Leinster part of South but it is really too early in the party's fragile recovery to hope for anything more than putting its name back on the map.
Other candidates Richard Cahill, Independent Jillian Godsil, Independent Theresa Heaney, Catholic Democrats Peter O'Loughlin, Indpendent Donal Ó Ríordáin, Fís Nua Jan van de Ven, Direct Democracy
Prediction: Crowley, Kelly, Clune, Ní Riada
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