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  • Northside East

O'Brien is looking forward to Dáil challenge ahead

Thursday, 12th December, 2019 1:00pm
O'Brien is looking forward to Dáil challenge ahead

Newly elected TD Joe O’Brien.

O'Brien is looking forward to Dáil challenge ahead

Newly elected TD Joe O’Brien.

Aoife O’Brien

DESPITE only being guaranteed a short term as a TD with the next general election expected to take place in April or May of next year, by-election winner Joe O’Brien is looking forward to putting the issues in Dublin Fingal on the political agenda.

“One of the questions I raised in the Dáil (on my first day) was around the lack of secondary school places in north Dublin,” said Deputy O’Brien (GP).

“I wanted to push a bit of urgency on that and I will try to get the minister as often as I can and catch him as often as I can and question him as often as I can in relation to school places in Dublin Fingal.”

Public transport was also high on Deputy O’Brien’s agenda on his first day in the Dáil.

“I want to see if I can push some movement on public transport in terms of capacity on the rail lines and increasing bus services and so on, so those are the main things I can put some urgency on and inject some energy into the lack of movement in those areas in recent times.” Speaking about the low turnout for the by-election, Deputy O’Brien said that while it is not unusual for turnout for a by-election to be low “we as candidates have a lot to answer as to why we couldn’t motivate more people to come out.”

He believes that disillusionment with big parties could be partly to blame for this low turnout.

“People are frustrated that TDs are not forward planning enough and that there is not more forward thinking and I think we might have tapped into something there cause we definitely like to think as Greens that we are more forward thinking and we think beyond the election cycle,” he said.

After receiving the highest ever number of first preference votes by a Green candidate in a Dáil election, Deputy O’Brien will be well placed to return to the Dáil in next year’s general election and capitalise on this forward planning.

“I think it was an important factor as well for some people at least that they weren’t electing someone that wouldn’t be on the ticket again so I’d offer that bit of consistency as well in terms of representation,” he added.

Deputy O’Brien became the first ever Green Party candidate to win a Dáil by-election after he emerged as the comfortable victor in the Dublin Fingal constituency.

He topped the poll in the 12-candidate race with 5,744 first preference votes, just under 23 percent of all first preference votes.

Turn out for by-election, which was held to fill the seat vacated by Clare Daly following her election to the European Parliament, was very low at only 25.6 percent. Deputy O’Brien was deemed elected without reaching the quota on the eight count with a total vote of 12,315. This was just short of the 12,546 quota.

This victory makes Deputy O’Brien only the 10th Green TD ever to be elected and sees him join party leader Eamon Ryan and Dublin Rathdown TD Catherine Martin in the Dáil.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here