Constituency profile: Dublin West

Make no mistake, Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton is in the fight of her political life in Dublin West. And the similarity between her party’s fall from grace in the constituency and Fianna Fáil’s in 2011 is clear for all to see.
Constituency profile: Dublin West

In 2011, Ms Burton comfortably topped the poll on the first count, much like the late Fianna Fáil TD in the area Brian Lenihan achieved in 2007.

However, after one Dáil round of tough austerity measures, in 2016 the Labour leader is genuinely struggling to retain her position, again much like Mr Lenihan in 2011.

The likelihood is Ms Burton will be facing a final seat battle with the Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger, with both unlikely retain their positions - highlighting the changing dynamic of Ireland’s left.

Ms Burton will likely hope the 10,000 extra voters from Dublin Central will balance out the party’s recent by-election slumps in the constituency, while 2014 by-election winner Ms Coppinger will be largely dependent on her colleague Joe Higgins’ long-built base and her own Dáil performances.

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At the other end, Fine Gael Health Minister Leo Varadkar is a racing certainty to top the poll.

Despite neither party having a TD in the area, Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly and the youthful first- time Fianna Fáil candidate Jack Chambers are also stronger candidates than it may initially seem.

Mr Donnelly has seen his vote rise steadily since his first local election in 1998, where he got 3%, to 21% in the 2014 by-election.

While he lost out due to low transfers to Ruth Coppinger two years ago despite initially leading the field, general elections are a different beast and a similar performance should see him enter Leinster House.

Similarly, the young Castleknock-based qualified doctor Mr Chambers can count on the local Fianna Fáil election machine, a legacy of the Lenihan years.

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