Sackcloth and ashes on the IFA campaign trail
IT's purely coincidental that there's a considerable overlap between Lent and the current IFA election campaign. But, given the nature of what is presently unfolding in the latter, it seems quite fitting. Read on.
Lent is traditionally about self- denial as a way of cleansing the soul.
For the IFA presidential runners, and those vying for the vice-presidency, the campaign is long and intense as well as being physically and emotionally gruelling.
The protocol introduced for this election means there is less door-to-door canvassing; this means the main point of contact between IFA members and the candidates are the county executive head-to-heads.
These are held on week nights and often run into the wee hours. The following morning, it's on to the next county to meet supporters, visit a mart or other agri-business before heading back into another debate.
Whoever emerges as winner will certainly have proved their stamina.
It's not just the organisation of the campaign that has echoes of Lent.
Last week I attended the South Tipp debate in Cahir. It was one of the nearest geographically to me. And at number 13 out of 28 debates, it was also almost the mid-point in the campaign and I also felt it was close to a level playing pitch for the three contenders.