Matching Sitting Councillors to New Local Election Constituencies: Dublin

Adrian Kavanagh, 14th June 2013 (with updates added in light of co-options, retirements and other changes to personnel here.)

The previous post offered a general overview of the 130 sitting councillors in the Dublin region, but this post will look at these in greater detail and attempt to match these councillors to the local electoral areas that they would seem most likely to be contesting in next year’s local elections. As stated in the previous post, the Dublin local authorities have all been awarded extra seats in the latest boundary revisions. But the nature of the boundary changes does determine that there are going to be some constituencies that are likely to be highly competitive due to the number of incumbents that are likely to be contesting these in 2014. Other areas could well offer good prospects for potential candidates in terms of a more limited level of competition from experienced incumbents (though, presumably, not from other candidates).

The local electoral area that I have allocated to the different incumbents is estimated based on what I know as regards their own local area details – effectively I try to assign these to the local electoral area that their home based is located in. My attempts to do so are shaped by the level of information available, however, and where candidate location information is limited I effectively have to “guesstimate” the candidate’s local electoral area. When more detailed information becomes available, I will correct and update these details.

First, I’ll try to outline the local election constituencies that Fine Gael’s current list of Dublin councillors. 

Dublin City
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 6 Clare Byrne
Ballymun 7 Bill Tormey, Gerry Breen
Beaumont-Donaghmede 9 Declan Flanagan
Cabra-Finglas 7 Mary O’Shea
Clontarf 6 Pat Crimmins, Naoise O Muiri
Crumlin-Kimmage 6 Ruairi McGinley
North Inner City 8 Ray McAdam
Pembroke-South Dock 8 Kieran Binchy, Paddy McCartan
Rathgar-Rathmines 6 Edie Wyne
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock 6 Marie Baker, Barry Ward
Dun Laoghaire 8 John Bailey, Patricia Stewart
Dundrum 7 Pat Hand, Jim O’Dea
Glencullen-Sandyford 7 Neale Richmond, Tom Joyce
Killiney-Shankill 6 Maria Bailey, Donal Marren
Stillorgan 6 Barry Saul
Fingal County
Balbriggan 8 Tom O’Leary
Castleknock 7 Eithne Loftus
Howth-Malahide 8 Joan Maher, Anthony Lavin
Mulhuddart 8 Kieran Dennison
Swords 9
South Dublin County
Clondalkin 8 Tony Delaney
Lucan 8 William Lavelle, Emer Higgins
Tallaght Central 6
Tallaght South 6
Templeogue Terenure 6 Colm Brophy, Brian Lawlor
Rathfarnham 6 Ann-Marie Dermody, Emma Coburn

As the table shows, Fine Gael would seem to have at least one incumbent Councillor associated with most of the new Dublin local election constituencies, with the exceptions of Tallaght Central and Tallaght South (I’m estimating that Colm Brophy is likely to contest Templeogue Terenure and have been informed that Brian Lawlor is also likely to do so) and Swords. In a number of cases, the party would have two sitting Councillors to cover these new local electoral areas. While the party obviously performed well in the last local elections, there is no local electoral area where the number of party incumbents would seem overtly high to the point that at least one would seem likely to lose out in 2014. However, should most incumbents decide to contest the next elections, there would seem to be somewhat limited scope for new candidates to get on the Fine Gael ticket in a number of these Dublin local electoral areas.

Jim O’Leary (Dundrum) resigned in April 2010 and Jim O’Dea was co-opted to replace him.

After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:

Kieran Binchy was co-opted to replace Catherine Noone (South East Inner City)

Paddy McCartan was co-opted to replace Eoghan Murphy (Pembroke-Rathmines)

Patricia Stewart was co-opted to replace Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Dun Laoghaire)

Anthony Lavin was co-opted to replace Alan Farrell (Howth-Malahide)

Anne-Marie Dermody was co-opted to replace Cait Keane (Rathfarnham)

Emer Higgins was co-opted to replace Derek Keating (Lucan)

Update: Clondakin councillor, Therese Ridge, resigned from the Fine Gael party in July 2012

Update (October 2013): Mary O’Shea (currently councillor for Cabra-Glasnevin) and Emma Coburn (Rathfarnham) have announced that they will not be contesting next year’s local elections. All of Fine Gael’s three female councillors in the Dublin City area (Mary O’Shea, Claire Byrne, Edie Wyne) will, likewise, not be contesting next year’s local elections. Claire Byrne’s reason for standing down had to do with her difficulties in carrying out Council duties with other family and work commitments.

It would appear that Tony Delaney has decided not to contest the local elections (though I have no reliable source to confirm this at the moment) and Emer Higgins, who was co-opted for the Lucan electoral area, will now be instead contesting the Clondaklin electoral area at the May local elections.

Donal Marren (Killiney-Shankill) is retiring from a long career in local politics (“40+ years” according to Cllr. Neale Richmond) at the May local elections.

Joan Maher (Howth-Malahide) will not be seeking to contest the convention for the Howth-Malahide, as noted on Keith Redmond’s Twitter page on 14th January 2014

Next to look at the Labour Party.

Dublin City
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 6 Sheila Howes, Michael O’Sullivan
Ballymun 7 Andrew Montague, Hugh McGarr
Beaumont-Donaghmede 9 Brian McDowell
Cabra-Finglas 7 Aine Clancy, John Redmond
Clontarf 6 Jane Horgan-Jones
Crumlin-Kimmage 6 John Gallagher, Rebecca Moynihan
North Inner City 8 Padraig McLoughlin, Lucy McRoberts
Pembroke-South Dock 8 Maria Parodi, Dermot Lacey, Gerry Ashe
Rathgar-Rathmines 6 Mary Freehill, Oisin Quinn, Henry Upton
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock 6 Niamh Bhreathnach
Dun Laoghaire 8 Jane Dillon Byrne, Donna Pierce
Dundrum 7 Grace Tallon
Glencullen-Sandyford 7 Lettie McCarthy
Killiney-Shankill 6 Carrie Smyth, Denis O’Callaghan
Stillorgan 6 Richard Humphreys
Fingal County
Balbriggan 8 Ken Farrell, Ciaran Byrne
Castleknock 7 John Walsh
Howth-Malahide 8 Judy Dunne
Mulhuddart 8 Michael O’Donovan, Mary McCamley
Swords 9 Gerry McGuire, Tom Kelleher
South Dublin County
Clondalkin 8 Breeda Bonner
Lucan 8 Eamon Tuffy, Caitriona Jones
Tallaght Central 6 Mick Duff
Tallaght South 6 Marie Corr
Templeogue Terenure 6 Pamela Kearns, Chris Bond
Rathfarnham 6 Paddy Cosgrave

With the highest level of representation at a  local authority level in Dublin, it is not surprising that Labour would seem to have at least one incumbent associated with/likely to be based in each of the new local electoral areas. In a number of cases, the party has more than one councillor associated with these local electoral areas and there are a few constituencies where the number of sitting councillors seems to be especially high (such as Crumlin-Kimmage, Cabra-Finglas, Rathgar-Rathmines and Pembroke-South Dock). This could make for a very crowded Labour ticket in these areas in 2014 if all the incumbents decide to contest these elections.

After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:

Michael O’Sullivan was co-opted to replace Eric Byrne (Crumlin Kimmage)

Sheila Howes was co-opted to replace Michael Conaghan (Ballyfermot)

Gerry Ashe was co-opted to replace Kevin Humphries (South East Inner City)

Jane Horgan-Jones was co-opted to replace Aodhan O’Riordain (Clontarf)

Steve Wrenn was co-opted to replace John Lyons (Finglas-Ballymun)

Brian McDowell was co-opted to replace Sean Kenny (Donaghmede)

Chris Bond was co-opted to replace Eamonn Maloney (Tallaght South)

Grace Tallon was co-opted to replace Aidan Culhane (Dundrum), who had resigned to take up an advisory position within the new government.

Mary McCamley was co-opted to replace Patrick Nulty (Mulhuddart) in late 2011 after he had won the Dublin West by-election.

Padraig McLoughlin was co-opted to replace Emer Costello (North Inner City) in 2012, after she had been co-opted to replace Proinnsias de Rossa in the European Parliament.

Stephen Fitzpatrick has resigned his seat in the Dun Laoghaire electoral area, with this due to take effect in August – the Labour Party has co-opted Donna Pierce to replace him.

Steve Wrenn resigned his seat in the autumn of 2013 and Hugh McGarr was co-opted to replace him at the December 3rd 2013 meeting of Dublin City Council.

Howth-Malahide councillor Peter Coyle has retired and Judy Dunne has been co-opted to replace him on Fingal County Council.

Cian O’Callaghan (Howth-Malahide) resigned from the party on 26th July 2013 and has now joined the independent ranks.)

A tweet from Cllr. Henry Upton on 30th October has reported that Paddy Bourke has resigned from the Labour Party.  A report on notes that his resignation has been confirmed by a Labour Party spokesperson.

Peggy Hamill is retiring from Fingal County Council and will not be contesting the next local elections. The party’s candidate for the Castleknock electoral area, John Walsh, is to be co-opted to replace her in January 2014.

Dermot Looney announced on 7th January 2014 that he was leaving the Labour Party and would be contesting the 2014 Local Elections as an independent.

Niamh Breathnach (Blackrock) and Marie Corr (Tallaght South) will not be contesting the May local elections.

John Gallagher did not seek to contest the convention for the Crumlin-Kimmage electoral area (which includes his own South West Inner City constituency area), although it is not 100% certain that he is going to be standing down at the May elections.

Now to look at Fianna Fail.

Dublin City
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 6
Ballymun 7 Paul McAuliffe
Beaumont-Donaghmede 9 Tom Brabazon, Sean Paul Mahon
Cabra-Finglas 7 Mary Fitzpatrick
Clontarf 6 Deirdre Heney
Crumlin-Kimmage 6
North Inner City 8
Pembroke-South Dock 8
Rathgar-Rathmines 6 Jim O’Callaghan
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock 6
Dun Laoghaire 8 Cormac Devlin
Dundrum 7 Aoife Brennan
Glencullen-Sandyford 7 Tom Murphy
Killiney-Shankill 6
Stillorgan 6 Gerry Horkan
Fingal County
Balbriggan 8
Castleknock 7 Mags Murray
Howth-Malahide 8 Eoghan O’Brien
Mulhuddart 8 David McGuinness
Swords 9 Darragh Butler
South Dublin County
Clondalkin 8 Trevor Gilligan
Lucan 8
Tallaght Central 6 Eamonn Walsh
Tallaght South 6
Templeogue Terenure 6
Rathfarnham 6 John Lahart

Although the party currently has no Dublin representation in Dail Eireann (following the death of Brian Lenihan in 2011), Fianna Fail does have a certain level of representation at a local authority level in Dublin, as shown by the table above. The party’s strongest electoral area in terms of incumbency levels is Cabra-Glasnevin, with two sitting councillors based in this area – Paul McAuliffe who won a seat in Ballymun-Finglas in 2009 and Mary Fitzpatrick who won a seat in Cabra-Glasnevin in 2009.  But it is also evident that there are quite a number of local electoral areas in which Fianna Fail does not have a sitting councillor, thus accounting for the party’s introduction of Local Area Representatives to cover areas such as these (with the details on these being provided in an earlier post). The lack of Fianna Fail representation in the areas including the old Dublin City inner city electoral areas is especially evident.

John Hannon (Tallaght South) resigned from Fianna Fail in 2012 and joined the independent ranks.

Sean Paul McMahon was co-opted to replace Julia Carmichael as Fianna Fail councillor for the currently existing Ballymun-Fingal electoral area. Julia Carmichael stood down in May 2013, claiming that the schedule of Council meetings “was ‘positively discriminating’ against professionals”.

Now to look at Sinn Fein.

Dublin City
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 6
Ballymun 7
Beaumont-Donaghmede 9 Larry O’Toole, Micheal MacDonncha
Cabra-Finglas 7 Seamus McGrattan, Anthony Connaghan
Clontarf 6
Crumlin-Kimmage 6 Criona Ni Dhalaigh
North Inner City 8
Pembroke-South Dock 8
Rathgar-Rathmines 6
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock 6
Dun Laoghaire 8
Dundrum 7
Glencullen-Sandyford 7
Killiney-Shankill 6
Stillorgan 6
Fingal County
Balbriggan 8
Castleknock 7
Howth-Malahide 8
Mulhuddart 8
Swords 9
South Dublin County
Clondalkin 8 Eoin O’Broin
Lucan 8
Tallaght Central 6 Marie Devine
Tallaght South 6 Cathal King
Templeogue Terenure 6
Rathfarnham 6

Although the party did well in Dublin in the 2011 General Election, Sinn Fein’s performance  in the 2009 local elections in Dublin was disappointing and the party actually lost some seats. Furthermore, the party’s number of local representatives was further reduced due to a number of defections from the party following these local elections (Louise Minihan in Ballyfermot-Drimnagh, Christy Burke in North Inner City). Underpinning the sharp geographical differences in Sinn Fein support level across the city, the party has two incumbents based in some of these local electoral areas (Beaumont-Donaghmede, Cabra-Finglas), but the party currently has no sitting councillor in a number of other local electoral areas and indeed it has none at present in any of the local electoral areas in Fingal or Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. The flip side of this is that the party would appear to be well placed to make significant gains in Dublin in 2014, should its current support levels in the opinion polls be replicated at this contest.

Three candidates who won seats as Sinn Fein candidates in the Dublin City Council area in June 2009 left the party over the following few months. Christy Burke joined the independent ranks, while Louise Minihan became part of Eirigi. The third of these candidates, Killian Forde, who had left Sinn Fein to join Labour after the 2009 local elections, resigned from Dublin City Council in 2011 and Mícheál Mac Donncha was co-opted to replace him.

After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:

Maire Devine was co-opted to replace Sean Crowe (Tallaght Central)

Anthony Connaghan was co-opted to replace Dessie Ellis (Finglas-Ballymun)

Update: Eoin O’Broin was recently co-opted to replace Matthew McDonagh as the Sinn Fein councillor for the Clondalkin electoral area.

The “Independents and Others” grouping is strongly represented in Dublin also as the table below shows.

Dublin City
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh Louise Minihan Eirigi, Brid Smith PBPA Vincent Jackson
Beaumont-Donaghmede Paddy Bourke
Cabra-Finglas Cieran Perry
Clontarf Damian O’Farrell
Crumlin-Kimmage Pat Dunne PBPA
North Inner City Christy Burke,  Mel MacGiobúin, Nial Ring
Pembroke-South Dock Mannix Flynn
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock Victor Boyhan
Dun Laoghaire Melisa Halpin PBPA
Dundrum Tony Fox
Killiney-Shankill Hugh Lewis PBPA
Stillorgan Gearoid O’Keeffe
Fingal County
Balbriggan May McKeon, David O’Connor
Castleknock Matthew Waine SP
Howth-Malahide Cian O’Callaghan
Mulhuddart Ruth Coppinger SP
Swords Eugene Coppinger SP Anne Devitt
South Dublin County
Clondalkin Gino Kenny PBPA Therese Ridge
Lucan Guss O’Connell
Tallaght Central
Tallaght South John Hannon
Templeogue Terenure Dermot Looney

As with some of the other parties, there is notable geographical differences in terms of the number of non-party/smaller party councillors associated with different local electoral areas. Ballyfermot-Drimnagh especially stands out in this regards, with one independent councillor based in this area in addition to councillors representing two of the smaller parties/political groupings. Also standing out here is the North Inner City electoral area, given that there are three non-party councillors currently representing this constituency (although Christy Burke was elected as a Sinn Fein candidate at the 2009 contest and indeed Nial Ring had contested this electoral area previously in 2004 as a Fianna Fail candidate).

Matthew Waine was co-opted to replace Joe Higgins (Castleknock) immediately after the 2009 Local and European Elections as the Socialist Party leader had also won a European Parliament seat on the same day as winning a seat on Fingal County Council.

Mairie Metcalfe was co-opted to replace Maureen O’Sullivan (North Inner City), who had also won the Dublin Central by-election held on that same day. Mairie Metcalfe resigned from the Council in 2012 and Anna Quigley was co-opted to replace her. Anna Quigley then stepped down some months before the 2014 Local Elections and Mel MacGiobúin was co-opted to replace her.

After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:

Eugene Coppinger was co-opted to replace Clare Daly (Swords).

Pat Dunne was co-opted to replace Joan Collins (Crumlin-Kimmage).

Melisa Halpin was co-opted to replace Richard Boyd-Barrett (Dun Laoghaire).

Former Fine Gael councillor and currently a non-party ccouncillor, Therese Ridge, will not be contesting the local elections.

Finally, I’ve put all these details together to try and determine which currently look like being the most competitive electoral areas in the 2014 contest, at least in terms of the number of incumbent councillors who may be contesting these constituencies.

Dublin City Seats Female Cllrs Co-opt Male Cllrs Co-opt Total Cllrs Co-opt
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 6 4 1 2 1 6 2
Ballymun 7 0 0 4 1 4 1
Beaumont-Donaghmede 9 0 0 7 3 7 3
Cabra-Finglas 7 3 0 5 1 8 1
Clontarf 6 2 1 3 0 5 1
Crumlin-Kimmage 6 2 0 3 1 5 2
North Inner City 8 2 2 4 1 6 3
Pembroke-South Dock 8 2 1 4 1 6 2
Rathgar-Rathmines 6 2 0 3 0 5 0
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Blackrock 6 2 0 2 0 4 0
Dun Laoghaire 8 4 3 2 0 6 3
Dundrum 7 2 1 3 1 5 2
Glencullen-Sandyford 7 1 0 3 0 4 0
Killiney-Shankill 6 2 0 3 0 5 0
Stillorgan 6 0 0 4 0 4 0
Fingal County
Balbriggan 8 1 0 4 0 5 0
Castleknock 7 3 0 1 1 4 1
Howth-Malahide 8 1 0 4 1 5 1
Mulhuddart 8 2 1 3 0 5 1
Swords 9 1 0 4 1 5 1
South Dublin County
Clondalkin 8 2 1 4 0 6 1
Lucan 8 2 1 3 0 5 1
Tallaght Central 6 1 1 2 0 3 1
Tallaght South 6 1 0 2 0 3 0
Templeogue Terenure 6 1 0 4 1 5 1
Rathfarnham 6 2 0 2 1 4 1

Although the number of councillors across the Dublin region has been increased (and the general rule of thumb seems to be that most of these electoral areas will be effectively gaining c.2 seats on average), Crumlin-Kimmage does seem to be especially competitive with the analysis associating six current sitting councillors with this six-seat electoral area (and indeed this number of incumbents could well increase if Clare Byrne and/or Micheal O’Sullivan does not follow their local support bases into Ballyfermot-Drimnagh and Henry Upton does not follow his Terenure-Kimmage (pt) support base into Rathgar Rathmines). Other electoral areas would seem to offer a lot of potential for challengers to vie for council seats given the relatively low levels of incumbents based in these areas at present. Cabra-Finglas also appears to be a very competitive electoral area, based on the number of incumbents that appear likely to contest this local election constituency, although some of the personnel assigned to this area may well opt to contest the neighbouring electoral areas of Ballymun or Beaumont-Donaghmede.

By contrast, there are a number of electoral area that would seem to offer significant opportunities for new candidates given the relatively low levels of incumbents currently assigned to these in respect to the number of seats being allocated to these new local election constituency areas. Prime among these are the Ballymun electoral area in Dublin City, the Swords and Castleknock electoral areas in Fingal, the Glencullen-Sandyford electoral area in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and the Tallaght Central and Tallaght-South electoral areas in South Dublin County.

There is an interesting gender dimension here too. Some of the new electoral areas have high levels (in relative terms) of female incumbents associated with them, while others are present have no female representatives associated with them. There are currently 45 female councillors in the Dublin region, accounting for 35% of the total number of these – a level that is well in excess of the national average. Females have also accounted for almost half of all the co-options in the Dublin region (15 out of 31 co-options – 48.4%) since the 2009 local elections.

Note that this analysis is based on the best level of information that I have at present and these details will be regularly updated and corrected as and when further information comes my way.


About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
This entry was posted in Candidates, Dublin, Gender, local elections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Matching Sitting Councillors to New Local Election Constituencies: Dublin

  1. Stephen Fitzpatrick (Lab) is resigning and his seat will be vacated in August.

  2. Pat McAuliffe says:

    Adrian, you posted the following :** Steve Wrenn has resigned his seat – the Labour Party will co-opt a new councillor to replace him in the autumn (who will probably be candidate in the Dun Laoghaire electoral area in the 2014 local elections). Thanks to Irish Election Literature (see below) and others for bringing this to my attention.)) , Steve Wrenn is Ballymun doubt he will be contesting in Dun Laoghaire next time out. 😉 – Regards Pat

  3. Pingback: Blood in the Water?: How patterns of local representation match up with new local election boundaries – an overview | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

  4. Pingback: Retiring County/City Councillors | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

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