Now that the dust has settled it is interesting to reflect who were the ‘king-makers’ in the Dublin European Parliament election on 5 June by comparing the vote transfers in 2009 with those of the previous Euro election on 11 June 2004
The electorate in 2009 at 812,465, was slightly less than in 2004. The total valid poll was lower at 406,630 compared to 421,897 in 2004. As there were only 3 seats to be filled in 2009 the quota was higher at 101,658 compared to 84,380 last time.
The outgoing MEP, Eoin Ryan polled 55,346 in 2009, slightly less than the 61,681 he polled in 2004. But his running mate this time, former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Eibhlin Byrne polled over 17,300 few votes than Ryan’s running mate last time, Royston Brady. He never recovered ground and his widely predicted defeat materialised. Byrne was an excellent and gracious Lord Mayor but the tide against Fianna Fail was overwhelming.
Gay Mitchell polled 96,715 votes this time and this was a real boost for Fine Gael in Dublin whose electoral efforts in the capital did not surpass 90,000 votes in the last several elections. When he achieved quota on Count 4, half of Mitchell’s surplus of 2,755 votes went to Proinsias De Rossa but over 20% went to Eoin Ryan of Fianna Fail.
De Rossa’s polled a very credible 83,471 votes as a solo candidate. He had a running mate in 2004, Ivana Bacik, who polled over 40,000 votes.
Deirdre de Burca polled 19,086 votes, less than half the 40,000 votes the Greens have polled in greater Dublin in the past several elections. Former Green Party MEP, Patricia McKenna, polled 17,521 votes in 2009, less than half of what she achieved as a Green Party candidate. However, she stayed in the race longer than de Burca, having achieved over 4,000 second preferences from Simons, the Libertas candidate and 2,833 from de Burca. Approximately 18% of deBurca’s second preferences went to Fianna Fail but only 9.6% of Fianna Fail transfers went to The Green Party
The votes were simply not there this time for Mary Lou McDonald, She polled an exceptional 60,395 first preference votes in 2004 but this time she just polled 47,928 and never caught up. She got over 2,100 second preferences from de Burca and over 2,700 from McKenna.
The sun and moon were perfectly aligned this time for Joe Higgins who won 0ver 50,000 first preferences in 2009 compared to the 23,218 he polled in 2004. He obtained a steady amount of second preference from the Independents and McKenna which helped put a margin of 2,800 votes between himself and McDonald when she dropped out at Count 6. Higgins collected over 27,000 of her second preferences which meant that he was in the winners enclosure.