However, five years and an area name-change later, the coalition control is far less secure.
The newcomer to the field in 2011, Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy, is likely to improve on his third-place position by comfortably topping the poll, with a recent opinion poll suggesting the bank inquiry member could get 20% of first preferences.
However, while the backing and a recent party strategy to encourage supporters to give their first preferences to running-mate Kate O’Connell will help her bid for power, the competition means she is far from certain to take a second seat for the party. The first-time candidate and Rathgar-based pharmacist will face a tough battle for traditional Fine Gael votes from ex-party colleague and Renua leader Lucinda Creighton. With a recent poll placing Ms Creighton on 13% of first preferences and Ms O’Connell on 10%, who takes one of the spots on offer will come down to whether the Renua leader’s personal support overrides the party backing for her rival.
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With Labour’s Ruairi Quinn retiring, minister of state Kevin Humphreys is the coalition party’s only representative five years after the Gilmore Gale brought home two Labour TDs for the first time since the 1992 Spring Tide.
While he is liked in the constituency, Mr Humphreys will have to play second fiddle in coalition transfers and will face a serious battle for soft left support with Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews, an ex-Fianna Fáil TD from a political dynasty. Similarly, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who has been brought into the constituency to fill the gap left by the John Gormley, could pose a challenge, with Fianna Fáil’s legal adviser Jim O’Callaghan — the brother of RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan — hoping to be involved in the shake-up.
Ultimately, the four seats will come down to three key points: Can Mr Murphy’s surplus take running-mate Ms O’Connell over the line? Will Ms Creighton be able to retain her 2011 personal support, despite leaving Fine Gael? Can Sinn Féin’s Mr Andrews and Labour’s Mr Humphreys force their way through the remaining pack or be overtaken by the Greens’ Mr Ryan? It’s not quite the 2007 rumble in Ranelagh between Michael McDowell and John Gormley, more a tiff in Terenure.