So Sean Kelly, former President of the GAA has thrown his hat in the ring for a place on the Fine Gael ticket in Ireland South, but can Fine Gael win two seats in Ireland South?
At the last election in 2004 the quota was 121,068. Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney got 118,937 first preferences votes. The combined Fianna Fail first preference vote (Brian Crowley and Gerard Collins) was 198,670 and they failed to get two candidates elected.
This strategy was tried in both Ireland East and Ireland North-West in the last elections. It worked well in Ireland East where it succeded in getting both Mairead McGuinness and Avril Doyle elected, but it failed in Ireland North West where Madeleine Taylor-Quinn ended up acting as a vote sweeper for Jim Higgins.
What will be the strategy for Ireland South though? Will it be to be successful like Mairead and Avril or that one of the candidates will act as a vote sweeper.
This will all be decided by Fine Gael members in a meeting after Christmas. I personally am torn over which way I will vote or argue for. Looking at the numbers it dosent seam vaible but when you look back at the results from 1999 in Leinster the idea of running two candidates seams to be a non runner as between Avril and Alan Gills Fine Gael managed only to get Avril elected at the cost of Gillis losing his seat. Is that what will happen in 09, Burke will lose the seat to Kelly? But then in 2004 we win both seats in Ireland East, can that be repeated in 2009 in Ireland South?
It will take me a long time to come to a conclusion on this and would appreciate other peoples thoughts and comments!
I have listed the other candidates here