Currently equipped with laptop, day off, cigarettes and the greatest breakfast drink in the world (thank you kindly for the recipe, Malone sisters), it’s about time for a quick and typically glib profile of the seven candidates in the upcoming election. This is of course for the benefit of anyone that’s missed the two TV and one radio debate between the gang of seven that we’ll all be sealed into the voting cubicle to pick between on the 27th of October. Alphabetical order:
Political affiliation: none, but was involved on various projects with recent governments (Bertie and co)
Wants to talk about: Her work with Special Olympics Ireland, her experience in running boards, her friendship with Mary McAleese
Doesn’t want to talk about: Involvement with the Bertie Bowl, involvement with Bank of Ireland, Involvement with Denis O Brien, high wages for sitting on the boards mentioned above, airbrushed campaign posters
Performance in debates: Not bad, actually. Extremely well spoken, never on the offensive, touched on all the presidential campaign g-spots without sounding like a broken record.
Likely voters: Dublin, people who don’t care as long as the president’s name is Mary
Chance of victory: Slim to none
Political affiliation: Nominated independent, former member of the Fianna Fail national executive
Wants to talk about: Jobs, foreign investment, the role of the President as foreign dignitary as opposed to constitutional watchdog
Doesn’t want to talk about: Lack of political experience, heavy/minor (depending on your version of the truth) involvement with Fianna Fail during the “good old days”.
Performance in debates: Excellent. No weak points, staying on his message, not going negative or getting dragged into bickering. A little less willing to jockey for the camera than the others but what he’s lacked in quantity he’s made up for by not making a fool of himself.
Likely voters: Border counties, midlands, rural block, FF die-hards.
Chance of victory: No, not victory. But the real battle for Gallagher is a three-way with Dana and McGuinnes for everywhere north of Portlaoise. On a good day I could see him finishing fourth, maybe even third.
Higgins, Michael (TD)
Political affiliation: So Labour he shits Gilmore. Former Minister in rainbow coalition and FF/LAB coalition through 90s.
Wants to talk about: The constitution, the nature of the job, his extensive experience at home and overseas, his massive understanding of irish law and politics
Doesn’t want to talk about: His age, why his party didn’t nominate him last time around
Performance in debates: Magnificent, but slightly withdrawn. The man has shown a much stronger understanding of the role than anyone else, as well as an ability to hold his own when challenged without slating the competitors
Likely voters: Galway’s a lock, and Limerick may go his way as well. I wouldn’t even rule out Dublin. Labour hard core are of course behind him, as are the moderate left. If Norris doesn’t survive the race – and he may not, see below – it’s Michael’s to lose.
Chance of victory: Much higher before Norris came back in. With the left wing split and the mud flying in every direction, I still don’t see him finishing outside the top two.
McGuinness, Martin (MLA)
Political affiliation: De Facto leader of Sinn Fein
Wants to talk about: Banks being bailed out, handing back his Presidential salary, his work in the NI peace process
Doesn’t want to talk about: His past as a murderer, when he left the IRA, the existence of the Republic of Ireland without the 6 counties
Performance in debates: Dire. Admittedly he’s taken a hammering from the press over the IRA question, but his insistence that nobody cares whether he lied about leaving the IRA combined with his refusal to acknowledge the existence of the state he wants to be head of have done him no favours. That said, anti-bank is popular right now, even though most supporters of the idea have no clue why.
Likely voters: The border, armchair republicans around the country, don’t be surprised if he takes a chunk out of Mitchell’s Dublin core.
Chance of victory: If Norris pulls out, none. Higgins wins. If Norris stays in and Higgins doesn’t butch the fuck up with the debating, who knows? The SF election machine is the only group more effective than Apple’s marketing department.
Mitchell, Gay (MEP)
Political affiliation: Old school Fine Gael. Former minister, Mayor of Dublin, MEP and TD.
Wants to talk about: His working class background, how much of a shithead McGuinness is.
Doesn’t want to talk about: Anything other than his working class background and how much of a shithead McGuinness is.
Performance in debates: Maybe even worse than McGuinness. His tone is abrasive and confrontational, he doesn’t have anything resembling the common touch, and he’s frothed about Sinn Fein at every opportunity. Maybe this would work better if he was DUP but this isn’t that election.
Likely voters: Dublin city, that’s about it. It’s possible that the Kenny coattails take in some transfers in Mayo. No presence in the other cities.
Chance of victory: Zero. Even his party leadership couldn’t get behind him. fine Gael have never nominated the successful candidate and they sure as shit haven’t done it this time.
Norris, David (Senator)
Political affiliation: None. Senator for Trinity College dublin.
Wants to talk about: Apparently anything, as long as he can talk at length. No clear issue platform.
Doesn’t want to talk about: Israeli penpals, benefit fraud, an apparent unwillingness to obey the law when it doesn’t suit him.
Performance in debates: This one was a shocker. He was expected to charm and dazzle with his loquacious wit and highly literate charm. What’s actually happened is that he’s shouted “me too” in the background when others are speaking, he’s blatantly dodged the letters question, and he’s blustered and rambled instead of answering direct questions that could have been turned to his advantage.
Likely voters: Hard left, youth vote, Dublin, maybe Limerick
Chance of victory: Front runner! The way the stories are flying he can only go downwards and if i’m being honest this new story with the disability benefit may be enough to finish the campaign. The great thing about Irish voters is our ability to completely ignore questionable ethics when we’ve already decided we like someone
Scallon, Dana Rosemary (MEP)
Political affiliation: None, unless you count the Vatican
Wants to talk about: People losing trust in government, anti-EU froth
Doesn’t want to talk about: Catholicism, Fanatic Catholicism, the abortion issue, where the money for her campaign came from, already losing this election 14 years ago.
Performance in debates: Pathetic. She’s spent half her time waving copies of the constitution around like she owns the thing or has even read it. She said in one debate that confessional privacy is more important than state law, even when one priest tells another about abusing children. She can’t hold up under any kind of scrutiny and has been made shit of by Higgins over her understanding of the job more than once.
Likely voters: Hard right, Donegal, border counties at a stretch.
Chance of victory: Absolute zero. Just a time-waster.
Three weeks to go lads. Read a paper, turn on the radio. keep an eye on what’s happening.