Sunday 25 March 2018

The presidential contest is Fine Gael's to lose

Despite the latest poll, independents have little hope of even being nominated, writes Eamon Delaney

The Presidential contest continues to be wide open but the reality is that it's still Fine Gael's to lose. The competition hasn't even begun -- only one candidate has been declared -- and so last week's poll stating that David Norris is leading the field, with Labour's Michael D Higgins also doing well, while of course interesting, does not tell us a whole lot.

Except that much of the public has not been scared away from Norris because of the controversy over those interviews but have instead rallied around him. However, we can assume that as many will be against him.

Supporters of Norris, and the other independent hopefuls, should bear this is mind: each of them, or any of them, need to be nominated by four county councils, traditionally a conservative lot, and all but 13 of the 34 councils nationally are in the hands of FG. This leaves only 13 councils to fight over for Norris, Mary Davis, Dragon's Den star Sean Gallagher and New York-based Niall O'Dowd. Slim pickings all round. Enda Kenny has told his councillors not to support independents, so it's quite possible that none of them will be nominated, despite the recent poll's suggestion that the public actually wants such independents.

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