Low-profile Bernie spotted on Facebook
SINN Fein yesterday said Martin McGuinness's wife Bernie will not be taking any part in the presidential campaign -- but she has now appeared on his official Facebook page.
A rare picture of Mrs McGuinness shows her with her husband meeting Nelson Mandela (pictured, below).
Mrs McGuinness has deliberately kept a low profile for much of her husband's turbulent career. A Sinn Fein spokesperson had insisted Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister will not be accompanied by his wife as he campaigns around the country in his bid to become President. He said: "Martin has been in the public eye for over 30 years and his wife has always been a staunchly private person and this situation will continue."
Overall, the seven hopefuls in the presidential race are adopting sharply differing strategies when it comes to the role spouses will play.
One of the most intriguing partnerships in the campaign is Mary Davis and her media-savvy husband Julian. He is an executive with PR and marketing firm Fleishman-Hillard and is well versed in political image-making. Speaking yesterday, he said he would be out on the hustings with his wife and their four children.
A spokesperson for Sean Gallagher said: "Yes, his wife will be with him. They are only just married a year or so and she has been canvassing for Sean a lot.''
So far, the most high-profile partner has been Michael D Higgins's wife, Sabrina, who is regularly seen in the background at media briefings, particularly during television appearances.
Dana Rosemary Scallon's husband, Damian, has also been very much in the public eye in recent days as she battled to get a last-minute nomination from various local authorities.
David Norris yesterday indicated he will not have a partner living with him in the Aras, should he be elected.
And indications are that the wife of Fine Gael nominee Gay Mitchell will not be taking a frontline role on the hustings.