The Dublin West By-Election: Aftermath

Post four on the aftermath of last Thursday’s elections.

The by-election result is massive for Labour, perhaps as big as the result of the Presidential race. In taking Fianna Fail’s last seat in Dublin, they have made the capital redder then red. In being the first government party to win a by-election in nearly 30 years, they have reversed a previous period of malaise.

I have noticed it in the actions and opinions of some members of the party. A growing disillusionment has been evident, due to broken promises and dissatisfaction with a mostly anonymous leader. Labour Youth now acts very much like a separate party and they are well down in opinion polls.

Yet, they now have both the Presidency and another seat in the Dail. Nulty ran a good campaign and sailed home in the end and should be very proud of his efforts. He may regret some of the pledges he made to get to the Dail though.

Unfortunately for Labour, I don’t think they can really take advantage of the sudden momentum they have picked up. A budget that will shatter government popularity is barely more than a month away, and picking upon the pieces of lost support in the aftermath must by their primary aim at the moment.

McGuinness’ performance for Fianna Fail is something I have already touched on, on Tuesday.

Coppinger’s numbers illustrate how popular the Socialists are in Dublin, but I still would be more impressed if they were able to replicate it outside the capital.

Fine Gael, just as in the Presidential race, had a bad candidate and ran a bad campaign. Loftus did very poorly and has little future in the party on anything other than a local level.

Sinn Fein and the Greens both increased their numbers on the General Election without ever really being in a position to even affect the race. The Greens, so bereft of good news for so long, will be especially happy and can now go ahead with preparations for the Local elections with some justified optimism.

The many Independents were unable to affect the race in any real way.

I can only put down Labour’s victory to the local popularity of Nulty and the inept performance from Loftus. It is not one that I expect would be replicated in other by-elections. Time will tell.

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