Let my people vote – the Dublin Bay South by-election

James Geoghegan of Marlboro

Firstly, we have the Fine Gael candidate. His name is James Geoghegan, and he’s is a Dublin City councillor. His selection as the party candidate is surprising considering his party colleague Kate O’Connell held a seat in this constituency until last year. Since she lost her seat in the 2020 election however, she’s given some disparaging interviews about party leader Leo Varadkar, so she’s out of favour. Geoghegan is a recent addition to the Fine Gael party. He had previously been involved in setting up the far right Renua Party. That party was established when its leader Lucinda Creighton was kicked out of Fine Gael for opposing reform of Ireland’s abortion laws. The party didn’t last long as its toxic, right wing message didn’t appeal to voters. Geoghegan now promises to the voice of the generation locked out of the housing market. That should be hilarious seeing as he is running as the candidate for the party that created and maintains the housing crisis. Meanwhile he lives in a €730,000 house with his wife, in a house not located in the constituency he wishes to represent. Before he qualified as a barrister, he worked as a lobbyist for the tobacco company that makes Marlboro cigarettes.

Landlady Deirdre Conroy

Next up is Fianna Fail’s candidate councillor Deirdre Conroy. She will be well versed in the housing crisis, seeing as she is a landlord who ran a blog called ‘Diary of a Dublin Landlady. Like Geoghegan she doesn’t live in Dublin Bay South but in a €650,000 property in Clonskeagh. In her blog she complained of the simply horrid experience she had with a Latvian lodger in her house, and the utter gall of him for cooking rice and oats in the kitchen, and for using said kitchen for two hours one Sunday. She named this individual ‘Kovac’. He had the impudence to ask for the heating to be turned on in the evening. After she’d asked him to leave, she discovered an application form for €200 a month child benefit for his child in Latvia. Under EU law he was perfectly entitled to this money. Not according to Conroy. Other highlights of her blog were he tale of how she was seriously considering renting her linen cupboard as a single room to some desperate renter. Well why not take advantage of the housing humanitarian crisis for personal gain?

Fifth time lucky? Ivana Bacik

The Labour Party candidate is Senator Ivana Bacik. Bacik is a veteran of many failed election campaigns. She was not elected to be MEP at the 2004 European elections. She was not elected to be TD in the 2009 by-election for Dublin Central. She was not elected to be TD in the 2011 election for Dun Laoghaire. This time she is running for Dublin Bay South. She is however a public representative being a member of Seanad Eireann (Ireland’s upper house) since 2007 (having failed twice in previous attempts). The Seanad comprises of 61 senators who are not elected by the public. They are chosen by industry panels, a small number of university graduates and the government of the day. Effectively it’s a place you get sent to if you know the right people. The government doles out seats to candidates the public didn’t vote for, or as a favour for services rendered. It is sorely lacking in any democratic accountability. There was a vote on its abolition in 2013. The public voted to keep it, on the understanding that it would be democratised. It has not been reformed since. Each senator earns €70,000 a year, which is a nice little number for doing nothing and achieving nothing. Senator Bacik has a rich experience in losing elections. I wonder will her losing streak continue this year?

Councillor Mayor Hazel Chu

The Green Party candidate this year is likely to be Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu. She has yet to be selected as the party candidate but she’ll quit the Greens if she’s not – this is a given. Elected to Dublin City Council in 2019, she was selected to be Lord Mayor by the council in 2020.  She declared herself as an independent candidate for a Seanad position this year, despite remaining in the Green Party. Some call the appointment of senators to the Seanad an ‘election’, but a more accurate term would be ‘appointment’ as senators do not have a democratic mandate in Ireland, despite their generous salary. Only 218 people could vote in the Seanad election in which Chu ran. Chu received 10 votes. That’s right. Ten. The winning candidate Gerry Horkan received 114 votes to collect his €70,000 a year prize. Chu made some noise about running as an independent because there were no female candidates on her panel. I wonder if she genuinely thought the Seanad had any legitimacy, or whether this was a grift seeing that her term as Mayor is nearing its end. Well now she’s running again – to be a TD in Dublin Bay South. Her partner is GreenTD Patrick Costello – the TD for a different constituency Dublin South Central. Assuming they live together I am not sure whether its Chu or Costello who is living outside their constituency. Maybe they have two homes?

Lynn Boylan – neither of Dublin Bay South or Agriculture

The Sinn Fein candidate is Senator Lynn Boylan. A Dublin native and resident all her life, she is a Senator at present. She was appointed to the Seanad as part of the Agricultural Panel – her city roots clearly giving her an insight into agricultural matters that rural dwelling people lack. She was appointed to her €70,000 a year job with 83 votes in 2020. Prior to being a Senator, Boylan was an MEP between 2014 and 2019 – although she lost her seat in 2019. It’s Ireland however – the Seanad is a reliable nursing home for failed politicians. She resides in Clondalkin meaning she does not live in the constituency she wants to represent. Her partner Eoin O’Broin is an elected Sinn Fein TD and that party’s spokesperson on housing. Being of the same party as he is, Boylan’s housing policy likely matches that of O’Broin. An underdog considering the wealth of Dublin Bay South, Boylan is one to watch. Sinn Fein are the main opposition party, and people are so outraged by the government’s dismal ad deliberate failure in housing, they might select the candidate from a party that at least appears not to represent vulture funds. `

Badges and Brigid Purcell

People Before Profit’s candidate for Dublin Bay South is Brigid Purcell. She lives in the constituency which is unusual in this election. But let’s be honest. She hasn’t a hope. This is Dublin Bay South. There’s a chance that Sinn Fein could do well thanks to the deep rage felt by so many people feel towards the government when it comes to housing, there’s not a chance in hell that a communist is getting elected in salubrious Dublin Bay South.

Who shall win? The wealthy denizens of Dublin Bay South shall decide.

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