Voters to go to the polls on July 8 in Dublin Bay South 

The government has formally moved the writ for the election, kickstarting the process to elect a replacement for former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
Voters to go to the polls on July 8 in Dublin Bay South 

Voters will go to the polls on July 8 in Dublin Bay South.

The Government has formally fired the starting gun on the Dublin Bay South by-election, confirming that Thursday, July 8, will be polling day.

In the Dáil, Deputy Government whip and Fine Gael Kerry TD Brendan Griffin formally moved the writ - or legal order - to set the date.

It is planned that polling stations will remain open later until 10.30pm to facilitate a Covid-compliant election.

Despite the formal commencement of the campaign only occurring now, the various parties have been canvassing for weeks.

So far, there are 12 confirmed candidates contesting to fill the seat vacated by former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, a Fine Gael TD.

That party is standing Cllr James Geoghegan who has already had to withstand criticism over his bid to be a voice for a generation of aspirant homeowners. A barrister of privilege, Mr Geoghegan also has shipped some criticism for not actually living in the constituency.

Fianna Fáil is standing Cllr Deirdre Conroy but her campaign has been muted to date and she is not expected to be a contender in the final shake-up, nor is Cllr Claire Byrne for the Green Party.

The Labour Party is standing Senator and serial General Election loser Ivana Bacik, who has sought election in two other constituencies before now. She stood in Dublin Central and Dun Laoghaire previously.

Senator Lynn Boylan is the Sinn Féin candidate while Sarah Durcan is running for the Social Democrats, Brigid Purcell for PBP/Solidarity and Mairéad Tóibín for Aontú.

Justin Barrett is the National Party candidate, Jacqui Gilbourne is running for Renua, and independents Cllr Mannix Flynn and Peter Dooley are also standing.

Former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, whose resignation has opened the vacancy. 
Former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, whose resignation has opened the vacancy. 

Based on national opinion polls, it would appear to be a race between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin for the seat, with Cllr Geoghegan hopeful he can retain a seat in what is seen as a Fine Gael stronghold.

However, based on most recent polls, Sinn Féin is the most popular party in the State and Boylan is a former MEP for Dublin.

There is a sense that given the leafy suburbs contained within the constituency, Bacik must dramatically outperform her party's low national rating of less than 5% if she is to stand a chance. Some sources in Fine Gael fear that if Bacik can stay ahead of Boylan, she could bleed Geoghegan's support more and pull off a shock win. It must be said that a sitting government rarely holds a seat.

Another factor to consider is that there is at present no female TD in the constituency. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews and Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan are the current elected TDs for Dublin Bay South.

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