Fifth seat is impossible to call - Whelan
THE Tallyman's Campaign Handbook for the upcoming general election by political commentator and barrister Noel Whelan from Ballycullane is being launched on Wednesday in Dublin.
The following exclusive excerpt from his insightful and detailed book on candidates in every constituency in the country is his read on how the general election will play out in County Wexford this Spring.
'There is definitely one safe Fine Gael seat for the Government: Chief Whip Paul Kehoe. Outgoing Independent deputy Mick Wallace is also safe.
Although the Wallace family base is in Wellingtonbridge in the south, his profile is such that he will get votes in every box in the county.
There is also one safe Fianna Fáil seat and James Browne wears the strongest Fianna Fáil brand name in the county. He is comfortably likely to take the seat that has long been held by his father John Browne who is retiring.
Unless there is a complete collapse for Labour in this election Brendan Howlin will hold his seat.
He has a strong base in the Wexford area and recognition across the county for his work as a minister.
There is then a four-way scrap for the remaining seat. This is between two Gorey based candidates, Fine Gael's Michael D'Arcy and Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne, Sinn Féin's Johnny Mythen, who is based in Enniscorthy, and Independent councillor Ger Carthy who is based in the Wexford area. Whether the Gorey end of the county, which currently does not have a TD, rallies behind one candidate or transfers strongly between the two will be a key factor. So too will be the transfer rate within the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil tickets.
Sinn Féin's candidate Johny Mythen has the ad-vantage of being his party's only candidate.
Although Sinn Féin did very well in the 2014 local elections and now has five members of Wexford County Council, it would take a dramatic increase in the party vote on 2011, when they only got a third of a quota, to win a seat here. Meanwhile if Carthy's base in the Wexford areas get him high enough on the first preferences he would get transfers from all sides.
It is impossible to call.'