Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vanquished Opponents Left Fuming over Lee

Whatever about the nation being shocked with George Lee’s shock resignation on Monday, spare a thought for the candidates who contested the by-election against him - they are fuming.

First and foremost there is Cllr Jim O’Leary - who was elected for Fine Gael to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as far back as 2004.

He was the favourite to run for Fine Gael in an era that has now become BG (before George). He ran for the party in the 2007 general election and acquitted himself relatively well considering that the Dublin South constituency saw two Fine Gaelers elected that time.

When the by-election came around, most people in the constituency believed that Jim would run as he was well-known for his council work over the previous years. Even Jim believed he would be running.

But George Lee’s star was simply too bright and Jim was asked to put his ambitions aside for a while to make room for the RTE star.

Needless to say, Jim was very disappointed by loyally stood aside for the sake of the party.

Then there was Labour’s Alex White - a shoe-in to win the seat BG (before George) thanks to Labour riding high in opinion polls.

But even a combination of his popularity and the popularity of the Labour party couldn’t tarnish the shine coming from Lee’s halo.

And then there was the youngest of the group - Sinn Fein’s Shaun Tracey, who this week pointed out the level of frustration in Dublin South at the fact that they will have to go to the polls again in the near future.

“This fiasco amounts to a further waste of the public’s money by Fine Gael as there will now have to be a re-run of the Dublin South by-election,” he said.

And then there is Shay Brennan - son of the late and well-respected Seamus Brennan whose death prompted the by-election in the first place.

On a pre-election debate on Tonight with Vincent Browne on TV3, he actually asked Lee if he would be sticking to politics and if he would contest the next general election - to which Lee said he would.

When asked this week, Shay said he was disappointed in Lee’s decision to resign after just eight months in the Dail.

But he added a sting in the tail when commenting about his future political ambitions.

“I am not a quitter. I will run again,” he said.

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