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John Drennan: Gleeson shining bright among Kerry South stars

When it comes to the galaxy of stars (and drama queens) in Kerry South the sight of Michael Gleeson heading the poll might appear to be a case of an outsider coming to town.

In Kerry South, though, Gleeson is no outsider. He starts with the considerable advantage of having two All-Ireland medals in his pocket after he broke into the Kerry team among such legends as Mick O'Dwyer, Mick O'Connell and Liam Higgins.

The leader of the quixotic sounding South Kerry Independent Alliance was in the same class as the formidable Senator Joe O'Toole, who told the Sunday Independent, "He is a man I hold in the highest regard."

Whilst his main electoral strength is around Killarney, Gleeson, who was also a year ahead of Joe Higgins in that same remarkable school, has strong Gaeltacht connections.

He was originally a strong Labour man but left because of faction fighting within the organisation. Described by locals as sensitive but sound, a strong hint of the native Kerry lyricism runs through his commitment in the 2009 council elections that "if returned, I promise a listening ear, a fair and forceful presence and above all the pursuit of standards of justice and fairness for you, the voter''.

Sunday Independent