Cork east is a sprawling constituency, from Youghal on the Waterford border to Cobh and Midleton on the edge of Cork city up to Fermoy, Mitchelstown and Mallow. It is a four-seater, with an electorate of over 80,000.

The rural and farming issues

This is a big farming area, heavy in dairy and tillage. Mallow was the site of the last sugar factory in Ireland, and tillage ranks alongside dairy as a key enterprise. Flooding was a major problem in Midleton, but Fermoy’s new €38m flood defences held firm, and Mallow's were partially successful. This is a commuter belt constituency, and roads are an issue, particularly the Cork-Mallow-Limerick motorway which is on cold storage.

Who will get elected?

An internal dispute in Sinn Féin means sitting TD Sandra McLellan is not standing. It is hampering candidate Pat Buckley ’s prospects.

Among the farming candidates here are tillage farmer Tom Barry, Kevin O’ Keeffe, whose father Ned was a minister of state for agriculture, and Renua’s Paul Bradford. Sean Sherlock is a former labour agriculture spokesman.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will take a seat each, probably through David Stanton and Kevin O’Keeffe. The remaining two seats will be closely contested between Sean Sherlock, the two remaining Fine Gael candidates, Buckley, and independent Mary Linehan Foley, a former Fianna Fáil councillor. Nuala Ahern, a niece of Bertie’s, must battle Linehan Foley for votes if she is to regain her father Noel’s former seat.

If Sherlock loses his seat, that probably means nationwide devastation for Labour. He should hold on.

The odds courtesy of Paddy Power

  • David Stanton (Fine Gael) 1/9
  • Kevin O’Keeffe (Fianna Fáil) 1/9
  • Tom Barry (Fine Gael) 4/11
  • Sean Sherlock (Labour 4/5)
  • Pat Buckley (Sinn Fein 5/4)
  • Noel McCarthy (Fine Gael 2/1)
  • Mary Linehan Foley (Independent 9/2)
  • Kieran McCarthy (Independent 6/1)
  • Barbara Ahern (Fianna Fáil 10/1)
  • Paul Bradford (Renua 20/1)
  • Ciara Leonard-Roche AAA-PBP 20/1
  • Ken Curtin Social Democrats 25/1
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