DESPITE being arguably the most under fire candidate in the history of this constituency, Gerry Adams is set to defy the odds and win election to the Dáil at Friday’s election.
His arrival as Arthur Morgan’s heir apparent has brought plenty of controversy but, that aside, it looks like the Sinn Féin president is a certainty to retain the party’s seat in this area after taking 22pc of the first preferences in our opinion poll of 228 people, collected between Monday and Friday of last week.
In recent weeks Adams has been attacked from all angles, by both political opponents and the national media as well as the families of those who have suffered at the hands of the IRA who believe – despite his constant denials – that he had a hand in their suffering over the years.
Adams is a bit like Marmite in this area, you either love him or hate him, but that has always been the way of his political career.
Despite claims by John Drennan in the Sunday Independent at the weekend that he could be set for an embarrassing failure to get elected, our poll suggests that he has brought Sinn Féin support to a new and all-time high in this area.
While Adams will rely heavily on first preference votes to get him over the line and may have to wait several counts before doing so, he should just manage to steal in.
His biggest issue is that he may struggle to get transfers from any of the main political party candidates. His best hope is to take as much as possible from some of the independents running in the election and if he does that then he should be safe.
It would be a huge embarrassment both for Sinn Féin and Adams were he not to get a seat on Friday but our poll suggests that is unlikely to happen. His biggest issue between now and then is to hope that those who have actually pledged to support to him get off their sofas on the day and make their way to the polling booths. If that happens, he should be safe.