Concerns over vote splitting among immigrants in Ongar and Balbriggan
2019-05-01 14:40:58 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


The expectations of both Indian and Nigerian communities in Ireland that their compatriots would be elected to represent them in two key Dublin constituencies have been greatly reduced following the decision by several of them to fight for seats in same areas.


Metro Éireann has learned that three Indians are contesting in the same local election area of Ongar – a new five-seat ward recently carved out of Mulhuddart in west Dublin – which has a total of 13 candidates, one of whom is a sitting councillor.


The Indians fighting for seats are Fine Gael’s candidate, shop owner Jagan Muttumula, and two independents — IT consultant Raghu Nath Narayanam and Ramesh Racherla, a software engineer.


They are the only non-Irish-born candidates running in the Ongar ward.


The situation is also reminiscent of the 2009 election when three Nigerians contested for seats in the old Mulhuddart constituency, nome of whom was elected.


The situation is reflected elsewhere in Fingal, in Balbriggan, where researcher and PhD candidate Okezie Emuaga of Fine Gael is competing with fellow Nigerian John Uwhumiakpor, a carer running on the People Before Profit ticket. In total, 13 people are running for the five positions in the constituency.


In Dublin’s North Inner City constituency, five immigrants from different nationalities are running for positions on various tickets. A number of constituencies across the country also have more than two immigrants from different backgrounds contesting.


Many immigrants are blaming such candidates for throwing away what would have been a more comfortable position by splitting the local ethnic community vote.


Rotimi Adebari, a councillor and first black mayor of Portlaoise Tonw Council, also wonders about the reasoning behind people of the same nationality standing for election in the same constituency.


“[More than one Indian] standing for election in a five-seater electoral area, what are they thinking?


“If all the electorates in the area are all Indians, why not? If not, I don’t see any of the three getting elected.


“Someone should tell them of what happened in Mulhuddart in 2009. They would have stand the chance of getting a seat if only they pull together and support one candidate. I just keep wondering why we never learn.”

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