Province: Rest of Leinster
Seats: 4 (3 open, as Ceann Comhairle (FF) returned automatically)
Current TDs: 1 FF (incl. CC), 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 IND
Projection: 2 FF (incl. CC), 1 SF, 1 FG
The Labour boost in Leinster is now truly ebbing, and the seat that looked open for Mark Wall has swung back towards Fianna Fáil, though not by a huge margin. The next few rounds of polling here will be informative as to whether we really were just dealing with an outlier, or if there is something that can be sustained.
If the CC retires however, Wall remains favoured to win the final seat, though Sinn Féin have been polling strongly in the province and if they continue to tick up, may be in a place where they should look seriously at the viability of a second candidate. There’s still a way to go before that manifests, however.
Yeah, I dunno about this one, man. I’ve flagged Kildare South a few times for being potentially interesting in the case that the Ceann Comhairle retires, but this is the first time I’m seeing something interesting regardless. Labour have been polling very strongly in Leinster of late (though B&A has them a good chalk up on Red C), and that’s reflected in the model now favouring, albeit incredibly narrowly, Mark Wall for the final seat.
Wall has contested this seat – occupied by his father for 19 years – twice and has been competitive, if not particularly close, in both those races. In 2016 his FPV wasn’t enough and in 2020, he got overwhelmed on transfers by Fiona O’Loughlin (FF) and eventually winner of the final seat, Cathal Berry (IND). With Independent numbers in Leinster looking very poor, the model indicates that Berry is set to struggle. This is another one of those ones where I think the model may be underestimating an Independent, but I have no basis for that other than my gut, so I will have to ignore it.
With SF and FG in position to easily hold seats, but nowhere near being able to run two candidates successfully, the final seat on current numbers is between FF and Labour, and Labour have the edge for the first time. If the CC retires, both should get in.
Other than Carlow-Kilkenny, this is the only constituency set to return two FF TDs, but that’s due to the automatic return of the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, which effectively renders this a three seater for the upcoming election.
If FF run one candidate they should be able to take the seat away from Cathal Berry (IND); if they run two like they did in 2020, they will have a harder time of it.
If the Ceann Comhairle retires, the re-opened fourth seat becomes a very close race between Berry, a second FG candidate and Labour’s Mark Wall, if he runs again. Currently the model favours a second seat for FG under this circumstance.