Voters are being urged to go to the polls in Dublin Fingal this Friday as a dozen candidates chase the Dail seat vacated by new MEP Clare Daly in May.
Political analysts predict a keenly-fought contest in the country’s youngest constituency, where transfers will be key in determining who is first over the line.
The national trend shows a rise in popularity for Fianna Fail and the Greens, at the expense of Fine Gael. But Fingal is traditionally a Labour stronghold, which could sway votes.
Polling stations for the by election open at 7am this Friday, November 29, and close at 10pm; and the count gets under way on Saturday morning at the National Show Centre in Cloghran.
It is time now for the electorate to have its say – so it’s over to you. If you have a vote, use it.
Bookmakers predict the election will be a three-way race between Cllr Joe O’Brien (GP), Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (FF), who are both quoted at odds of 11/4, and Duncan Smith (Lab) at 2/1.
However, Clare Daly’s endorsed candidate, 29-year-old Cllr Dean Mulligan (Independents4Change), has been well received on the doorsteps and could throw a spanner in the works.
While O’Brien could benefit from the Green surge, Fine Gael’s Senator James Reilly may fall foul of the party’s by election curse. He has also faced criticism for pinning part of his campaign on a private day hospital in Swords, which flies in the face of his party’s policy on Slainte Care.
Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has met with a frosty reception on some doorsteps thanks to the emergence of a series of tweets from 2011 in which she repeatedly used offensive language.
Party leader Micheal Martin was quick to support her in her hour of need, but whether that and her apology are enough to smooth the waters remains to be seen.
Labour’s Duncan Smith is the chair of the council’s Strategic Policy Committee on housing and has been a vocal campaigner for more social and affordable homes in Fingal.
Glenn Brady (Ind) is a social worker from Portrane who is committed to improving children’s services, psychiatric services, housing and sustained development.
Tracey Carey (Social Democrats) lives in Malahide and is an advocate for employment rights, affordable childcare and quality mental health services.
Ann Graves (SF) was elected to FCC in May after party colleague Philip Lynam did not stand for re-election in the Swords ward.
Charlie Keddy (Ind) is from Wicklow and is running in all four by elections. His manifesto says he wants to stop abortion, corruption and home tax.
Cormac McKay (Ind) is the founder of the Dublin Loop, which campaigns for free public transport in the capital.
Gemma O’Doherty (Ind) lives in Swords. She ran for President in 2018 and has previously been banned by YouTube for hate speech.
Peadar O’Kelly (Ind) is a former mayor of Balbriggan who ran for town council as a member of the Labour party. He is calling for more schools and better public transport.