THE NEW constituency for Sligo with parts of three other counties (Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan) - had it been there in the 2011 general election - would have delivered a certain seat to Fianna Fail, even in its worst election ever.
That is one of the finding underpinned in two new national studies into the new four-seater published online recently.
Adrian Kavanagh is a lecturer in Geography at Maynooth NUI. His detailed study and commentary the proposed new 4-seater boundaries confirmed there would have been two seats for Fine Gael and one each for Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail.
Kavanagh's study shows Sligo/Leitrim - had it been using the new four seat constituency - would have been one of just TWO areas in Ireland where Fianna Fail would have been certain to take a seat it lost in the real contest.
Said Kavanagh in his commentary, posted online last Friday: "This analysis suggests that Fianna Fail would have won two more seats at the 2011 General Election had that election been fought on the basis of the new Constituency Commission election boundaries, despite overall seat numbers being reduced by eight. "The overall reduction in seat numbers would have seen the party lose out on of their two seats in Cork South Central, but it is estimated that that party could have won extra seats in Dublin Fingal, Dublin Bay North and Sligo Leitrim," said Kavanagh: " The Dublin Bay North seat could well have fallen to independent, Finian McGrath...."
The other key finding -- confirmed in each study -- is that Fine Gael could greatly strengthen its hold on two party seats in the move to a 4-seater, moving from 1.47 quotas on first preference last year to 1.8 quotas it would have had in a 4-seater. There is a fair bit of wiggle room (and wriggle room!) there.Reasonable Bet
Sinn Fein could show a significant increase in its first preference quotient and would seem a very reasonable bet to retain its seat next time.
But it does not look like being in the race for two seats.. based on these stats extracted from what was a 'good' (optimum) election for the party last year.
The 'health warning' for the party is that the increases might reflect Pearse Doherty's support in South Donegal, some of which could be 'personal' and might not move to the next party candidate.
These Sligo/Leitrim findings are underlined in a separate online analysis by author and statistician Sean Donnelly and his previous stats at http://www.electionsireland.org1. Quotas Feb 2011 actual 3-seater outcomeWinners
Fine Gael 1.47 quotas
Sinn Fein 0.53 quotas
Fianna Fail 0.88 quotas
Others 0.51 quotas
Labour 0.41 quotas
Un Left Alliance 0.21 quotas2. Quotas Feb 2011....if it had been 4-seaterWinners
Fine Gael 1.8 quotas
Fianna Fail 1.1 quotas
Sinn Fein 0.7 quotas
Others 0.6 quotas
Labour 0.5 quotas
Un Left Alliance 0.3 quotas
The quota in the new Sligo/Leitrim four seater could be approx 8,887 votes. The quota in last year's three seater was 11,108
Link to site Irish Elections: Geography, facts and analyses:-http://adriankavanaghelections.org/2012/07/06/ge11partyseats2012constitcommboundaries/
Main Photo: The first boxes are counted at the 2011 General Election Count at the Castle Dargan Hotel, Ballygawley.
See SligoToday.ie 26/2/11 Photo: Charles McCarthy