Province: Rest of Leinster
Current TDs: 2 SF, 1 FG, 1 LAB, 1 IND
Projection: 3 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF
Fianna Fáil continue to gain here, and with Labour’s Leinster surge from last year regressing to the mean, they move ahead of Ged Nash in terms of likelihood for a seat here. Nash is one of many vulnerable Labour incumbents, so it will be very interesting to see how the leadership change affects polling here, and if he may end up regretting not challenging for leadership.
FF have been quietly building steam for a while across pretty much the whole country, and if this continues I expect to see them move ahead a few more seats like this, but if they run an overambitious candidate strategy like they did in 2020, these seats aren’t secure. Indeed, Louth is a good example of a place where running two again would be very, very ill advised, unless their numbers improve a fair bit more.
Ged Nash looks set to be a beneficiary of the polling surge for Labour in Leinster, rapidly going from also-ran to marginally favoured. While Fine Gael and Sinn Féin are assured of holding their seats, the projected third SF seat is now in serious question – while Fianna Fáil are currently set to lose out to Labour, they are behind the third SF candidate by a really narrow margin, and even slight polling movement could easily flip this.
Louth still shows three seats for Sinn Féin even with changes, but recalibrating things puts the second FG seat in serious question, and indicates a slight advantage for Fianna Fáil. SF have a big advantage here in terms of transfer friendliness as well as their projected FPV. Behind them, and one safe Fine Gael seat, things look a bit murkier now than they did before. While FF do in theory have the numbers to get a single candidate elected, Louth does have a geographic division when it comes to transfers – particularly between Dundalk and Drogheda – which as something the model can’t really account for, could end up having an impact, given how narrow their margin over a second FG candidate is.
Louth is shaping up to be excellent for SF based on polling. In 2020, they proved they could win two seats – and comfortably so – without the iconic Gerry Adams, substantially increasing their vote share and getting both candidates in on the first count, despite the relative inexperience of Ruairí Ó Murchú. Bouth his and Imelda Munster’s seats are rock solid, and the model shows that if they run three candidates, the most likely outcome is that they all make it home.
Similarly, FG are poised to win back the seat that IND Peter Fitzpatrick took with him – and successfully defended in 2020 – after he left the party.
While both outcomes are probable, neither is completely guaranteed. A strong single-candidate from FF could take the last seat ahead of a second FG candidate, and Labour’s incumbent Ged Nash will also be in the mix along with Fitzpatrick.