Constituency Profile: Dublin West

Quick facts

  • 4-seater
  • Sitting TDs: Leo Varadkar (FG), Joan Burton (LAB), Ruth Coppinger (SP), Joe Higgins (SP)
  • Unique that two by-elections held here in 31st Dáil
  • Home of Labour leader, Joan Burton
  • Population: 113,179
  • 2011 poll topper: Joan Burton, Labour
  • 2014 by-election poll topper: Paul Donnelly, Sinn Féin (not elected, Ruth Coppinger won seat)
  • 2011 by-election poll topper: Patrick Nulty, Labour Party
  • Most likely loser: Joan Burton, Labour / Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party
  • One to watch: Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil

The constituency has lost a net 2,500 voters with some 9,500 coming in from Ashtown in Dublin Central and 12,000 from Swords heading to Dublin Fingal. While the local election results and the by-election on the same day suggested both Fine Gael and Labour would struggle to win a seat, neither Leo Varadkar nor Joan Burton were directly involved. Varadkar is a vote getting machine, and will be safe. Although Burton divides opinion, there is still an aura surrounding the leader of a major party.

While Joe Higgins is gone, his second protégé (after Clare Daly) Ruth Coppinger should retain the seat.

That leaves the final seat between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin. Both the local results and the by-election had Sinn Féin edging it, but Fianna Fáil have invested a lot in first time candidate Jack Chambers who has usurped David McGuinness - who in both by-elections did well enough to have won a seat in a general election.

McGuinness is so annoyed that he is running as an Independent, and that might be enough to take the seat away from Fianna Fáil.

Possible result:

  • 1 FG
  • 1 LAB
  • 1 SF (+1)
  • 1 SP
  • 0 FF (-1)

Ivan's take: Yates is calling the result as one for Fine Gael, one Fianna Fáil, one Sinn Féin and one Socialist Party.

  • Joan Burton - LAB More Info:

    Joan Burton is the outgoing Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection and the leader of the Labour Party. She was elected to the Dáil in 1992, lost her seat in 1997, but returned in 2002 and at each election since. In 2014 following the resignation of Eamon Gilmore, she won the Labour Party leadership election, getting more than three quarters of the votes. She vowed that under her leadership Labour would “govern with more heart”. 

  • Dermot Casey - IND More Info:

    Dermot Casey is from Clonsilla and ran in both Mulhuddart and Castleknock LEA's in 2014. He got a combined total of 311 votes.

  • Jack Chambers - FF More Info:

    Jack Chambers was elected to Fingal County Council in 2014 with one and a half quotas. Chambers beat prominent Councillor David McGuinness to the Fianna Fáil nomination to run for this general election in Dublin West, resulting in McGuinness leaving the party. Chambers says he wants to provide the people of Dublin West with full time commitment and honesty in public life. 

  • TJ Clare - IND More Info:

    Independent Candidate TJ Clare is a primary school teacher, living in the Blanchardstown area. He says that working in education has allowed him to see "first-hand the dreadful impact austerity has had on our society".

  • Ruth Coppinger - AAA-PBP More Info:

    Anti Austerity Alliance candidate Ruth Coppinger was elected to the Dáil after securing 5,977 first preference votes in the 2014 Dublin West by-election. A member of the Socialist Party, she is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

  • Paul Donnelly - SF More Info:

    Paul Donnelly is a Fingal County Councillor since 2014. He first fought a by-election in Dublin North in 1998, getting just over 3% of the vote. He fought the local elections in 1999 but didn’t win a seat. He was co-opted in 2000, but didn’t contest the 2004 local elections. He missed out on a Council seat in 2009, and in the 2011 general election polled just over 6%. He polled nearly 9% in the by-election later that year, and in the second by-election nearly 21%. Despite topping the poll, transfers were a problem and Ruth Coppinger was elected. 

  • David McGuinness - IND More Info:

    David Mc Guinness is a Fingal County Council, elected for Fianna Fáil in 2009. He resigned from the party in 2015 in a row over contesting the general election. He ran in the general election in 2011 alongside Brian Lenihan, securing less than 1.5% of the first preference vote. He contested the by-election later that year, securing 21% and got just over 17% in the 2014 by-election. He has an honours degree in music, education and history from Trinity College. 

  • Catherine Noone - FG More Info:

    Catherine Noone was elected to Dublin City Council in 2009 for the south east inner city. In 2011 she was elected to Seanad Eireann. From Mayo, she studied law at NUIG and is a practising solicitor. She had hoped to contest the general election in Dublin Bay South, but was selected for Dublin West alongside Leo Varadkar. 

  • Jo O'Brien - REN More Info:

    Jo O'Brien is a computer science graduate and former lecturer in Waterford IT. For a number of years she worked on a wide variety of computer software systems in the U.K. and the U.S.A before returning to Dublin 15 in 1999.

  • Roderic O'Gorman - GP More Info:

    Roderic O’Gorman is Chairperson of the Green Party and a Fingal County Councillor. Dr O’Gorman works as a lecturer in the School of Law and Government in DCU. He is openly gay. He was elected a councillor in 2014, having contested local elections in 2004 and 2009, general elections in 2007 and 2011 and the two by-elections in 2011 and 2014. 

  • Leo Varadkar - FG More Info:

    Leo Varadkar is the outgoing Minister for Health and also served in the 31st Dáil as Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism. He first contested the Fingal County Council elections in 1999 but wasn’t elected. He was co-opted in 2003, and retained the seat in 2004 getting nearly two quotas. He was elected to the Dáil in 2007 with just over 20% of the first preferences. In 2015 he became Ireland’s first openly gay Cabinet Minister. He is a non-practising qualified medical doctor. He is forthright in commenting on issues, often to the annoyance of other members of Government. 

Dublin West - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011