Taoiseach dismisses attacks on Sinn Fein candidate
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny dismissed claims he was allowing a senior party colleague to do the "dirty work" of attacking Sinn Fein's presidential candidate Martin McGuinness.
He refused yesterday to endorse comments made last week by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who said Mr McGuinness was an "inappropriate person" to become president.
"I've never commented on people in any kind of election. But I will say this -- Gay Mitchell is an appropriate candidate," he said. He dismissed claims Mr Shatter was being used to do the "dirty work" for Fine Gael, saying he was solely focused on Mr Mitchell's campaign.
Mr Kenny and fellow Fine Gael TDs and senators turned up at the Customs House in Dublin yesterday to boost the campaign of Mr Mitchell -- who was submitting his nomination papers.
Mr Kenny said he was a first-class candidate who had risen from a working class area to the top of international politics. "I think he brings brilliant credentials to this campaign," he said.
Mr Kenny denied Fine Gael councillors were blocking Senator David Norris after it emerged some Fine Gael councillors in South Dublin Co Council and Cork Co Council voted against him. He said the only instructions to councillors were to support Mr Mitchell.
Flanked by his wife Norma, Mr Mitchell said he was feeling very confident and claimed recent opinion polls showing a low level of support for him "didn't appear to be true".
"I think we're going to be very strong on the ground and I'm very happy with the response we're getting," he said.