independent

Monday 20 October 2014

Still not sure who is best for the Aras

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 18/10/2011 | 10:27

IDON'T know about you but after watching the presidential debate on RTÉ I am still no closer to being sure of who is the best candidate for the job. It seems like a very negative think to say that not one of them seems like a perfect fit.

Ireland, in the polls at present is a bit like Goldilocks moving from one candidate to the other but as yet nobody is 'just right'.

This has been a very limp campaign so far and apart from the David Norris withdrawal and re-entry there has been little else of note to get our pulses racing. Where is the passion? Where is the hunger amongst those in the race? We need to see it. Our votes are precious things and this group, in general is not working enough for them.

Part of me feels like there has been no real debate during this campaign and that every time a candidate gets close to outlining their views on a particular issue they are muted by some side issue raised in the press.

Personally I was more than a bit disappointed by the debate, as it was so called. It's too difficult to engage in a clear debate where seven people are involved.

There was almost no interaction between the candidates and they were too ' polite' to challenge one another, each keen to be perceived as a forward thinking and positive character.

David Norris made it clear on more than one occasion that he wasn't there to be negative and his fellow candidates followed much the same line.

Such debates are designed to allow voters to see the rare occasion when candidate spar on issues and specifically outline why they are more suitable than their counterparts.

On this occasion they simply trotted out their individual mantras for the umpteenth time. Regardless of how many times Miriam O'Callaghan, or ' The Red Dragon' as Mary O'Rourke called her this week probed and tried to stoke a bit of reaction they sat firm and gave her nothing.

The one thing she did achieve was in garnering sympathy for Martin McGuinness. He dubbed it 'trial by television' and made clear his disgust at her comments about his IRA past.

Many viewers squirmed as O'Callaghan went through the others one by one asking what they thought of McGuinness and whether he was entitled to stand election.

This, in my opinion was wrong and if that question was put to one it should have been put to all. After all each of them are on the ballot paper fair and square and as they all chant daily 'the people will decide'.

It's a poor do when the highlight of the penultimate debate was delivered by none other than Dana. Her statement woke everyone up a bit and sparked their interest, and yet by the end of the programme we were still none the wiser about the vile allegation of which she spoke.

RTÉ was probably breathing a sigh of relief that at least something new came out at the debate.

Come what may, one of these seven will be our next president in little over a week's time.

We all know their flaws, some of which are greater than others and we have heard them outline their experience but at this stage the electorate needs to see much more. With mere days left on the campaign trail here's hoping for a miracle.

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