Tuesday 16 January 2018

Moments of truth: the other side of the election

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD pours the tea for Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton,TD when they met for a cuppa in a cafe on Hanover Quay. Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD pours the tea for Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton,TD when they met for a cuppa in a cafe on Hanover Quay. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Philip Ryan

It was dull and short-lived, but the campaign gave Kevin Doyle and Philip Ryan enough opportunities to smile at it all

Most awkward photocall

This one came right at the end, when Enda Kenny and Joan Burton met for tea and scones on the last day of campaigning to show us all how united they were. The only problem was that after three weeks apart, it seemed they had nothing to talk about.

Made-up story award

A lot of false claims were made but the best non-story goes to Mattie McGrath, who alleged that Alan Kelly had to hide from water protesters in his ice-cream van. "That only happened in the ice-cream van that plays the music in his head," Kelly's spokesman retorted, after McGrath admitted the Alan 'Jelly' Kelly incident hadn't actually happened. Only in Tipperary.

Moment of the TV debates

Two key moments stood out over the course of the three debates. One was when Micheal Martin's notes fell on the floor. The other was the creaky floor in RTE.

We're giving it to the notes on the basis that it knocked Martin and Enda Kenny off their stride.

Best poster vandalism

There were plenty of entries for this one, not least the effort one punter went to, to make Labour's Derek Nolan look like David Bowie.

But we're giving it to whoever put a Mary Moran-style wig on Ged Nash in Louth. A transfer pact of a different sort.

Most overused phrase

Fine Gael managed to wreck everybody's head with 'Keep the recovery going' before realising the slogan was doing more damage than good.

However, this award has to go to 'fiscal space'. It was Joan Burton, a politician not known for her brevity, who finally snapped, calling it the 'F-word'.

Best in-fighting

The obvious one would be Lucinda Creighton and Kate O'Connell in Dublin Bay South - but we've decided that was predictable and therefore comes only third.

In second place is the skirmish in Portmarnock between Fianna Fail canvassers for Darragh O'Brien and Lorraine Clifford Lee.

But the prize goes to the 'Battle of Ballymahon', mainly because the gardai had to be called after a row over leaflets between Fine Gael's James Bannon and Sinn Fein's Paul Hogan.

Time travel award

Kildare's Martin Heydon is in the running for this one as a result of his epic role as Marty McFly in a spoof Back to the Future video. But James Bannon is getting his second award on the back of a leaflet where he boasted about being an election winner since 1898.

It's understood he will be giving a first-hand account of the 1916 Rising on Easter Monday.

Tea and little sympathy

Fine Gael's Stephanie Regan claimed she was being "sent to make the tea" after a leaflet went around asking voters to give her their third preference after Richard Bruton and Naoise O'Muiri. Sources say she got little sympathy from what she was describing as the "old boys' club".

No time for 'tae' award

One man who certainly wasn't making tea was Michael Healy Rae. He had an election hit Make The Diff, a song that finished on the line: "Make your vote and pray that he goes all the way, he's flat to the mat with his black cap and there's no time for tae."

Next stop, Eurovision.

Spin doctors' award

Fine Gael spin doctors persisted in texting journalists during the TV debates to claim that Enda Kenny was exceeding expectations.

We can only assume that they were talking about their own expectations rather than the media's or the public's.

Worst communications strategy

Renua collapsed like no other party. In truth, the collapse happened weeks ago with a horrendous communications strategy. It involved press releases that in one case didn't even contain a candidate's Christian name.

There was even an angry email demanding that approaches to Lucinda Creighton be passed by the press office first. Hardly inspiring!

Renua promised a fresh start. In contrast its public relations strategy was stale. It could be said it reflected the party itself looking to the future but stuck in the past.

Hide and seek award

Alan Kelly was everywhere for the first week before being disappeared by the Labour Party.

He was banished back to Tipperary where he could tell them all about the grief he's been getting from the "Dublin meeja".

Please never let it happen award

In the most useless piece of information we learned during the campaign, Alan Shatter revealed he wanted to go on a date with Sarah Palin "to find out what goes on in her head".

"It's not fiscal space but it could be outer space. She's certainly spaced out," he said.

Sunday Independent

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