Putting a number on the Sinn Féin seat bounce

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Richard Bruton was not the first victim of the constituency changes. His decision not to contest the election had nothing to do with the work of the Electoral Commission. Bruton is now 70, and he has been a TD since he was 29. There have been many boundary changes since he entered the Dáil and he has stood in three-seat, four-seat and five-seat constituencies. What he has done without fail is retain his seat in every election he has stood in since 1982.

If he had decided to stand again in Dublin Bay North he would have had no difficulty in being re-elected.

He was a cerebral, energetic and unflappable politician who held senior ministries across a whole swathe of Departments.

Indeed, the only senior Ministry he never held was Finance, even though he was an economist by training.

He was Fine Gael finance spokesman for most of the 2000s. But his decision to mount a challenge against Enda Kenny for the party leadership in 2010 proved a very costly error.

When Kenny became Taoiseach, Bruton became a minister but for Enterprise and Trade – with Michael Noonan getting Finance.

Richard Bruton joins a growing club of Fine Gael TDs who have announced they will not stand in the next election, including John Paul Phelan, Brendan Griffin, Michael Creed and Joe McHugh – not forgetting ex-Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten.

For those who have gone so far, it isn’t the fear of losing their seats that have impelled them to stand down.

Pictured: The then-Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, at the Parliamentary meeting in Galway in 2011.

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