Monday 19 February 2018

The scores are in -- how the candidates fared in final debate

Fiach Kelly

Michael D Higgins 6/10

Delivered the most articulate opening of all the candidates. He struck a chord when he said he wanted to remind people "how we are a great country".

Also seemed to get passionate when outlining what exactly the President can do, again insisting the incumbent can't create jobs.

Sean Gallagher 1/10

Was seriously damaged by a forensic attack by Martin McGuinness, who raised the Fianna Fail fundraising dinner in 2008.

McGuinness claimed that Gallagher hand delivered photos of attendees posing with Brian Cowen in the days after the dinner -- and collected money for Fianna Fail. Ouch.

Mary Davis 6/10

Still refusing to change her tone, despite dropping like a stone in the polls. She also ditched the nice card by throwing a few digs at Mr Gallagher and his claims to run a completely poster-free campaign.

Claimed she was unfairlyportrayed in the media. Possibly did enough to put distance between herself and Dana.

Dana 4/10

Played it safe but was largely anonymous in the initial proceedings.

She played to her own constituency, which she desperately needs to turn up on Thursday.

"I don't trust the Dublin 4 polls, I trust the people on the street," she said.

However, needed to be more vigorous, since this was the last major debate.

Martin McGuinness 6/10

Scored a serious hit on Mr Gallagher by forcing him to accept he could have called around to collect a cheque for €5,000 from a person who had attended a Fianna Fail fundraiser in Dundalk.

Badly damaged by refusing to directly say that killing of mother-of-10 Jean McConville by the IRA was murder.

Gay Mitchell 3/10

He appealed to voters to choose someone with integrity rather than a celebrity. Undermined his credibility by once again claiming the opinion polls were wrong -- but Kenny pointed out that they were all saying the same thing.

Got stuck into a row with Pat and the audience -- which didn't do him any favours.

David Norris 7/10

His best debate performance. Humorous, and he joined in the attack on Sean Gallagher. He said he could assure the Irish nation that his closet was absolutely empty of scandal. Said it was not a two-horse race -- he was the dark horse who could win it. Said he would report sexual abuse allegations.

Irish Independent

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