#RealityCheck: Dublin Bay North - The Group of Death

Richard Chambers out on the road with one of the most tightly contested constituencies

Whether it be sport or politics, every competition has a "Group of Death". In Election 2016, that group may well be Dublin Bay North.

The constituency, which takes in areas from Drumcondra as far north as Baldoyle, Howth and Sutton, will be contested by 20 candidates, including five sitting TDs, two of whom are prominent members of the Government.

Richard Chambers has been on the doors in North Dublin.

Who's in the running and why is it such a brawl?  

There are so many story-lines at play here, it’s remarkable. Dublin Bay North is made up of the old Dublin North Central and most of Dublin North East - the outgoing TDs here Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, Minister of State Aodhán O'Riordáin, Independent Finian McGrath, Tommy Broughan formerly of Labour and Renua’s Terence Flanagan - formerly of Fine Gael. 

A lot of places here around Donnycarney, Coolock, Donaghmede, Beaumont were areas Labour dominated back in 2011. The party picked up three seats out of six on offer across the two old constituencies.

But things were a little different on the doors.

What's the mood in their sitting TDs camp?

Aodhán O'Riordáin is now fighting an uphill battle to get re-elected in that crowded field.

Given the anger on the doors directed towards Labour over water charges, property taxes and much more besides - it was absolutely essential to see how he fared.

He accepts he’s under siege.

Who, then, is trying to capitalise on the disillusionment with Labour?

A number of left candidates - their old colleague Tommy Broughan among them, Finian, Michael O’Brien and John Lyons of Triple-A PBP, Cian O’Callaghan formerly Labour as well now with the Soc Dems. Sinn Féin’s Micheal MacDonnacha and Denise Mitchell likely to field a strong challenge. 

But one name who’s re-entered the frame is Fianna Fáil’s former TD and the son of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey - and grandson of Seán Lemass - Seán Haughey.

Fianna Fáil, selected Cllr Deirdre Heney, before Haughey was added to the ticket. Heney says that was ‘old boys' club’ at work.

When asked about the interesting discrepancies in the party’s literature, Haughey - a man steeped in the history of the Soldiers of Destiny - what he would make of a union with the old enemy of Fine Gael. His answer was quite surprising...

What about Fine Gael?

Well there’s flak on the doors and there’s been trouble from within.

There's a three-candidate ticket in play here. Richard Bruton was left out by the selection convention which picked Stephanie Regan and Naoise O'Muiri. That was embarrassing for the Jobs Minister who was added to the ticket. O'Muiri told delegates on the night that Bruton would be added later if he didn’t get picked - whereas his only chance of making the ticket was to be selected.

There have been issues between the candidates over indications of preference, like the Haughey camp.

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton has been working the doors for so long that he’s already borne the brunt of the anger.

Are the Independents capitalising on all this disillusionment?

Interestingly, a lot of people said they’d be in favour of Independents in general - but were cautious about who they’d align themselves with. Would Dublin Bay North TDs step into the fold to support a government for example?

Finian McGrath famously did so for Bertie Ahern. Tommy Broughan wouldn’t be welcomed by Labour, after being left out the last time. But the one that would provide the most intrigue would be former Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power - who left the party in the wake of the Marriage Referendum last year.

After a canvass in Coolock, she explains there's only one party she'd be certain of ruling out. 

Another thing is for certain, Averil, along with all the other candidates will be in for a tight contest.

You can listen to the report in full below: