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In brief: Taking soft option only brings further problems, says FG old-timer Barrett

At 67, Fine Gael TD Sean Barrett has no qualms about fighting his 10th General Election. "In politics, you need youth and enthusiasm, but you also need age and experience," he said.

Mr Barrett, who is contesting the Dun Laoghaire constituency, was Chief Whip and Minister for Defence in successive coalition governments in the Eighties. "I know the mistakes [we made] -- don't ever take the soft option by stringing things out. You are better off going in and dealing with [unpopular] issues straight away," he said.

Millionaire JJ relishing first contest

HE'S the self-proclaimed 'Millionaire Candidate' who is worth in excess of €18m and owns a French castle.

Last week JJ McCabe -- a 74-year-old bachelor -- was continuing his canvass throughout Clare. The long-shot candidate said he was enjoying his first General Election. "I have a vocation to become a public servant and tried the local elections in the past to no joy," he said.

Bishop favourite to be biggest loser

Bishop Michael Cox in Laois-Offaly and John Pluto Hyland in Dublin Central are joint 10/1 favourites to receive the fewest votes in next Friday's General Election. "The Wooden Spoon Race puts a positive slant on a losing bet," said Sharon McHugh of Paddy Power.

Sunday Independent