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  • Northside East

Postmortem after by-election result

Monday, 9th December, 2019 8:00am
Postmortem after by-election result

There are no TDs from Swords in the current Dáil. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Postmortem after by-election result

There are no TDs from Swords in the current Dáil. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

A LOCAL councillor has raised concerns over the absence of a TD from Swords after Skerries-based Joe O’Brien (Green Party) won the Dublin Fingal by-election.

Cllr Darragh Butler (FF), who represents the Swords Local Electoral Area (LEA), did not contest the by-election after being overlooked by his party in favour of Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee who finished second in the race.

However, he said: “I will once again be asking Fianna Fáil HQ to add my name to the Fianna Fáil general election ticket.” The general election is expected to take place in April or May of next year.

After the results of the by-election, the five-seat constituency of Dublin Fingal is now represented by three TDs from Skerries and two from Malahide.

Swords, which is the largest town in Dublin Fingal, has no Dáil representative from the area.

Cllr Butler said: “I don't think that is sustainable in General Election 2020 as whilst people vote for a combination of reasons, issues, party and geography, you'd have to think that the town of Swords will elect at least one TD out of five, if not two, in General Election 2020.”

However, Independents 4 Change Councillor Dean Mulligan, who also represents the Swords LEA on Fingal County Council, said it would be unfair to assume that Swords issues are being overlooked.

Cllr Mulligan, who ran in the by-election and will also be a candidate in next year’s general election, said: “I think a number of local councillors work beyond their catchment areas for the people of Fingal as a whole and TDs the same.”

Deputy Joe O’Brien, who won the seat, echoed this sentiment.

“I am a TD for Swords and I am a TD for all of Dublin Fingal,” he told Northside People.

“When you’re a TD, your responsibility is much wider and I think I got very good support in Swords and regardless of whether I got good support or not, it's my job, it's the biggest town in Dublin Fingal and it’s a key place for me.”

However, Cllr Joe Newman (Ind), who also represents the Swords LEA on Fingal County Council, said he agrees with Cllr Butler regarding the need for a Swords-based TD.

He said several of his own supporters have been encouraging him to put himself forward for the general election.

He believes “Swords needs a strong independent candidate to ensure the main parties don’t get a free run in the general election and carry on business as usual”.

Despite this, he does not believe Cllr Butler will be chosen as a candidate to run for Swords.

“I wish Cllr Butler well in his efforts to have himself selected by Fianna Fáil but, in my opinion, he has his work cut out,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Clifford-Lee, who was chosen as the Fianna Fáil candidate this time around, said she is extremely pleased with her strong showing in the by-election.

“I look forward to the general election in 2020, when my colleague Darragh O’Brien and I will be campaigning for election to the Dáil, for a change of Government and for a new direction in Government policy in the key areas of health, housing, cost of living, public transport and climate change,” she said.

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