News Lise Hand

Friday 22 August 2014

No looking back for SF as poll win beckons

Lise Hand

Published 26/04/2014 | 02:30

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Lynn Boylan (left) and Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke
Finian McGrath
Finian McGrath

When it comes to opinion polls, the sun is most definitely shining on the Sinn Fein parade at present, with the party looking set to snaffle seats from the two coalition parties in both the European and local contests.

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Accordingly, one of the senior members was in sunny form during the week at one of the blizzard of set-piece events organised by the various contenders.

Mary Lou McDonald and Euro hopeful Lynn Boylan were happily posing for press photographers after the candidate had lodged her papers with the City Sheriff's Office in Temple Bar.

The snappers were all content, save for Irish Independent stalwart Tom Burke, who wanted something a little different. So he asked the women to stand with their backs to him, link arms, and look back over their shoulders towards the camera.

Mary Lou was dubious. "You are not taking pictures of our bums," she declared with spirit, much to the amusement of the assembled reporters and passers-by.

But Tom used his charm and prevailed, as Tom always does (successive Taoisigh have obediently bent to the will of this veteran press photographer over the decades), and the photo went ahead, with the duo pronouncing themselves satisfied with the image.

It was all very good-natured, and the media then turned its attention to the next group of candidates arriving to lodge papers.

"Just as the Labour Party crew showed up it began to rain. Says it all, really," reckoned one observer.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN - ON LAMPPOSTS

THERE'S no doubt that canvassing amid the leafy environs of Dublin 2 can be a most civilised affair. The Greens' Eamon Ryan was out and about on Baggot Street this week with local candidate Claire Byrne, who is running in the Pembroke-South Dock ward (no, not the radio/telly presenter).

And on his perambulations he stopped for a chat with the head of IBEC, Danny McCoy, followed a short while later by Fine Gael's Euro pick for the capital, junior minister Brian Hayes.

Claire is one of the increasing numbers of women running in the locals this time around – there are more female candidates, up from 17pc in 2009 to 23pc this year. But the percentages still aren't that impressive (particularly from Fianna Fail) and without the threat of a final penalty hanging over the parties, it's doubtful that even the current modest increase would have occurred.

Nonetheless, the lampposts of the land appear to be decorated with a disproportionate number of posters of young women candidates, with the lads barely getting a look-in at all.

"This is no country for representatives of curmudgeonly old men," observed one disconsolate curmudgeon.

Honestly, there's no pleasing some folk . . .

ARTISTIC PRAISE FOR 'LEGEND' ADAMS

This month's issue of 'An Phoblacht' contains a lively interview with Irish artist Kevin Sharkey, who joined the ranks of Sinn Fein last September – and it looks as if he's embracing his new political family with marked enthusiasm.

"Gerry Adams, legend, absolute f***ing legend," he reckons. "I grew up with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the usual and my family and people around me voted that way but, ultimately, it's the same old show, it's the same old thing."

Such enthusiasm can only gladden the heart of Grizzly – it's only a wonder that the party didn't try and persuade the outspoken artist to throw his beret into the ring for the local elections.

But perhaps he's waiting for the broader canvas of the general election further down the road.

CANVASSING ON CRUTCHES SEEMS TO BE CATCHING

A peculiar silence has fallen over the environs of Dublin North Central. No longer are the citizens of Clontarf and Coolock disturbed by regular sonic booms sparked by indefatigable Independent TD Finian McGrath on yet another high-speed canvass.

For poor auld Finian is back on the crutches – a mishap that has put a halt to his gallop as the local elections loom.

His woes began when he limped off the dance floor last December – he had been in training to take part in a 'Strictly Come Dancing' gala to raise money for breast cancer research, but did his knee in while practising the Charleston. "I was doing leg flicks like Michael Flatley, when I felt the ligaments go," he recalled. But he had been up and running again, canvassing with local councillor Damien O'Farrell, who is seeking re-election in the Clontarf ward, when he tripped on the Howth Road on Good Friday and put his knee out again.

"I'm back on the crutches and need surgery, but the consultant took pity and gave me a three-week amnesty until the elections are over," he explained.

Coincidentally, Mr O'Farrell also fell recently and scuppered his ankle and he too spent some time on crutches.

"We're both still out on the doors, but we're very slow," Finian sighed. Oh dear, it looks like the accident-prone pair are more hobbling-mates than running-mates, so.

Irish Independent

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