With 2 days to go to our Presidential election, suddenly the sleepy campaign has come alive with mud slinging against the
up to now whiter than white independent candidate, Sean Gallagher. Sinn Fein candidate, Martin Mc Guinness, has made claims that Gallagher accepted a payment in the amount of €5,000 from a business man for the Fianna Fail party in 2008, of which he was an executive member at the time. Confronted on a TV debate last night between all seven candidates, Gallagher hesitated and failed to convince the nation that he had acted in an above board manner at the time. More mud regarding his tax affairs from a member of the audience also stuck to his shiny scalp. Maybe with Hallowe’en this weekend, he can take time out to suck some blood of those who have tried to sully his very good name!
Over the weekend, opinion polls had placed him in a commanding position, making it seem that it was now a one horse race. All of a sudden, his star has lost some of its lustre and perhaps a chink in his
pole poll position could allow the “more presidential” senior candidate, Michael D Higgins, in the back door of the Arus (President’s Palace).
Another former poll topper, independent Senator David Norris, stole the show with a series of witty and rather apt comments throughout the debate but his is now a lost cause with too much ground to make up from his lowly position in the polls. As the first person to put his hand up for the job earlier this year, he suffered from several “scandals” regarding a former lover who was convicted of statutory rape in Israel; he only managed to scrape onto the ballot at the last minute. He is still my favourite, despite me being a card carrying member of the Fine Gael party, for whom European MEP Gay Mitchell is standing.
The bould Gay blotted his copy book yet again by launching a verbal attack on the debate host, TV presenter Pat Kenny, over a silly issue regarding not giving him a fair hearing in the debate. While his party continues to hold majority support close to 40%, his personal rating in this contest is consistently below 10% and he is a no-hoper for the job.
Labour’s candidate, Michael D Higgins, has run a low key and rather polite campaign rarely engaging in slanging matches with the other candidates. His position in the polls has grown slightly throughout and he has always been in the top two. Presently running c.15% behind Gallagher, he is hoping that the blips in his younger opponents performance last night might result in a 5 – 10% swing, allowing a more keenly contested Presidential election on Thursday 27th October.
If he manages to close the gap to c.7%, the issue of transfers will be crucial and Higgins will fare better overall from the other candidates as they are eliminated. It could be a long count yet and hopefully for the sake of our people, may the best man win. Whovever wins is unlikely to outshine the outgoing super star, Mary Mc Aleese, whose 14 year tenure was marked by a truly outstanding Presidential performance.