Current TDs: 2 FG, 1 GP
Projection: 2 FG, 1 GP
Similar to Dublin Bay South, that small RPA bump in Dublin for the Greens since November – from 7.1% to 7.9% – proves to be enough to swing the odds back in their favour for Catherine Martin to hold her seat. I did mention last time that the Sinn Féin seat in Rathdown was probably illusory, so I’m not too surprised about this. This is a really tough constituency for SF – or FF for that matter – with three high-profile incumbents and a somewhat socially-liberal but otherwise highly conservative voter base. Still, see previous comments about this place being weird as all hell politically. It’ll probably end up electing Hugo MacNeill or something.
Another bad result under the model for the Greens on their convention week, with Catherine Martin losing her advantage in keeping her seat. I think however this may be more transient than Dublin Bay South; not only are the margins here also very fine, and transfers playing a significant role but this is a very tough spot for Sinn Féin. That goes for both FPV, which the model may be overstating, but doubly so for transfers. There’s not a lot to go on with regards to that transfer data, and I’ll be surprised if this manifests during an election on current numbers. We have been here before, and like then, I don’t expect the model will show this as an SF gain for much longer either honestly; this feels like a temporary confluence.
Still, that story I told last month about this place’s unpredictability looks pretty prescient, huh?
Fianna Fáil struggles again in this one, and despite having a not-great month of polling themselves, the Greens move back ahead of them here. Other than that not much has changed since last time, this is still a constituency that loves doing strange things at election time
As there isn’t much else to note here, let me tell another story about how mad this place is. In 2014, Sorcha Nic Cormaic became the first ever Sinn Féin councillor elected in the Dundrum LEA. At the next election in 2019, they voted her out of her council seat so hard that she finished bottom of the poll, behind PBP, Aontú, Eirígí and a bloke who was running solely on the basis that he was Shane Ross’ mate. In GE 2020, less than a year after this, she got party’s best ever result in the Rathdown/former Dublin South constituency. This place just does stuff sometimes.
The Green meltdown continues this month with Catherine Martin’s seat looking more vulnerable than it has for a long time, and Fianna Fáil looking to be the ones most likely to snatch it off her. That said, Fianna Fáil have missed a series of open goals here since the retirement of Tom Kitt and the death of Séamus Brennan, both over a decade ago, so I have a lot of faith in the ability of the local branch to completely screw this up again.
One other thing to note is that this constituency, which really is just the leftover bits of the old Dublin South that Dublin South-West and Dún Laoghaire didn’t want, is really really idiosyncratic. As either Dublin South or Dublin Rathdown, it has a long record of sending people who are totally incompetent but extremely overconfident to the Dáil. So don’t rule out something weird happening here – Sinn Féin aren’t completely unviable, and this is exactly the sort of place that could elect a Labour TD out of the blue.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise with the Greens bouncing up in the polls, and it looks like Catherine Martin will be able to keep her seat. This was always a tough one for Sinn Féin, and them previously being favoured here by the model was more a reflection on Green and FF weakness than their own growth. If the GP can sustain their polling bounce, they should hold this handily enough, but if they slip back towards the numbers they were seeing earlier on, the final seat could end up being wide open again.
This is a great look for Sinn Féin. Rathdown is probably one of the toughest constituencies for them in the country, but the decline in the Green Party’s fortunes has well and truly opened the door to the third seat here. FF don’t look competitive either. The caveat is, of course, what happens if FG run three? Winning all the seats in Rathdown isn’t out of the question, if they can find the candidates to pull it off, especially with Shane Ross out of the picture and a lot of FG gene-pool votes looking for a home to go to.
However, right now, SF have the edge here, and the Greens need a serious reversal in polling trends if they are to defend this seat in what has traditionally been one of their stronger areas. Catherine Martin did pull off a surprise here in 2016 and was dominant in 2020, so it’s possible that she can hold on, but the numbers right now do not look positive, with her trailing both SF and a putative 3rd Fine Gaeler.
No change is projected in Rathdown at this point, with two FG candidates locked in and the GP’s Catherine Martin holding on. With that said, the GP vote is looking well down and if that trend continues, this could get spicy.
A continued slip in the Green vote would leave Martin in a fight for the final seat with Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and possibly even a theoretical third FG candidate. At that point, SF would be favoured, with FF the longest shot. There’s not a lot up for grabs here right now, but keep an eye on this one, as if current trends continue, it could end up wide open for that third seat.