On the Campaign Trail - Episode 2: The verdict in Cork South-Central

On the Campaign Trail - Episode 2: The verdict in Cork South-Central
Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath and Micheál Martin

Daniel McConnell and Mick Clifford have been on the campaign trail and they deliver their verdict here.

All this week, ahead of Election 2020, we will be taking a look at all of the runners and riders in each of the five Cork Constituencies.

We will be examining the lie of the land in each area and crucially delivering our verdict as to who we think will fill the 18 seats from Cork in the 33rd Dáil.

Today, we are looking at the Constituency of Cork South-Central. This is a four-seat constituency and there are 14 candidates competing.

This is the home patch of some big national political beasts – Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, his finance spokesman Michael McGrath and Sinn Féin's Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

In addition to the above named, the others contesting the election are:

Lorna Bogue, Green Party

Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael

Anna Daly, Aontu

Paudie Dineen, Independent

John Donohoe, Independent

Ciara Kennedy, Labour Party

Bobby Murray Walsh, Solidarity-People Before Profit

William O'Brien, Independent

Patricia O'Dwyer, Social Democrats

Sean O'Leary, Independent

In 2016, this former five-seater dropped down to a four-seater which saw Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer and Labour's Ciaran Lynch lose out.

The three main heavy hitters, Coveney, Martin and McGrath all made it back safely and were joined by Sinn Féin's Ó Laoghaire, a first time TD.

Since 2016, Coveney has lost out on the Fine Gael leadership to Leo Varadkar but has been Tánaiste since December 2017.

And Mick Clifford's verdict:

As the man who would be Taoiseach, it is safe to say that Micheál Martin will top the poll and Michael McGrath could easily join him over the line on the first count.

Coveney is assured of a seat, so really there is only one seat in play here.

At the start of the campaign, you could have made an argument to tip Lorna Bogue for the Greens to oust Ó Laoghaire but if the Sinn Féin surge is to hold out until polling day, the popular incumbent should be ok.

So I'm calling it – Martin, McGrath for Fianna Fáil, Simon Coveney for Fine Gael and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire for Sinn Féin.

Watch episode 1 and 2 here...

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