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PEARSE Doherty (right) may have been in a spot of bother last week for using his Oireachtas travel and accommodation expenses to pay the salaries of Sinn Fein workers. Put that blot on his copybook to one side, however, and his performance as the party's spokesman on finance marks him out as one to watch right now, and in the future.

For as much as the Government might like to carp that the Donegal TD is little more than populist in his pronouncements on the country's economic difficulties, Pearse Doherty would appear to understand the toxic mix of anger and helplessness that makes up the public mood more than most within Dail Eireann.

In presenting his case against the established parties of Fine Gael, Labour and the dwindling ranks of Fianna Fail, the Sinn Fein young gun has been adroit in identifying both Nama and the repayment of bondholders of the defunct Anglo Irish Bank as the issues to be pursued with dogged determination and in forensic detail. Doherty's persistent and intelligent questioning in the Dail of Finance Minister Michael Noonan in relation to the billions of euro of taxpayers' money in play at the State's so-called 'bad bank' and in the winding down of Anglo (now known as the IBRC) have established him as a significant thorn in the Government's side.

Sunday Independent