It looks like June 2010 will be the next big bunfight between the parties, when the people of Dublin, if John Gormley is to be believed, will be electing a mayor for Dublin. So, who are to be the contenders?
Labour’s Dermot Lacey, former lord mayor and current sitting councillor for the Pembroke ward, must at least have a serious call on his party’s nomination, for the fact that he is one of the few councillors who has ever expressed a desire (or even a passion?) to stay in local politics for its own end, and for being a gutsy lord mayor of Dublin. His public profile might be a problem, which would suggest that big hitters like Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte might be worth pondering. There’s also the fact that Proinsias De Rossa has both name status, north/south appeal and the fact that if he were elected, Labour wouldn’t lose his european parliament seat.
Gay Mitchell must be the big name for FG (And the favourite to win if he runs.), what with the same appeal as De Rossa and also the means to save his euro seat.
The shinners will be tempted to run Mary Lou again, but there is such a thing as collateral damage. You can only lose so many elections before people start thinking there’s something wrong with you, and it’s pretty unlikely that SF can actually win. Perhaps a blooding for the impressive cllr. Killian Forde or the articulate Eoin O’Broin, two of their coming stars in Dublin? Forde’s support for the scrapping of bin waivers could be sold as a man getting ready to make decisions as opposed to call for stuff, and O’Broin more than held his own in debates during Lisbon.
The Greens will have their work cut out, and would probably be better suited finding someone from outside the party, but with an name for urban thinking. Duncan Stewart? Frank McDonald?
The left: Joe Higgins will probably take a run, on the nothing to lose ticket, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Richard Boyd Barrett of the Socialist Workers Party People Before Profit No To War Save Dun Laoghaire Pier And The Baths While You’re at It Alliance doesn’t have a go as well.
And Finally, there’s Fianna Fail: FF will be tempted to run yer man from Drumcondra, but I reckon he’s beginning to get the finger pointed at for the state of the economy, and he may end up having the same effect on their vote in Dublin as CJH did, getting as many people to the polls who don’t like him as who do. I wouldn’t be surprised if FF choose someone completely unknown from their own ranks, who can at least claim to be fresh (And ideally young and female.) or else a celebrity candidate.
As to whether we will have an election, minister Gormley has been pretty vague about what powers the mayor will have. If the mayor can’t directly instruct the county and city managers, and hire and fire people, like the head of Dublin Bus, the question will be asked: What’s the point? Can we really afford to elect a highly paid figurehead? The reply will be that the mayor can “bring people together”. But can’t we just appoint a minister of state for Dublin to do that, and save the few quid? The minister needs to tread carefully here. This election has the danger of turning into a Why? election instead of a Who?