Saturday 20 January 2018

Heading for a dirty campaign

For connoisseurs of dirty elections, the 2011 presidential campaign is already shaping up to be a classic, and it hasn't even officially started yet. With both Senator David Norris and former MEP and Eurovision Song Contest winner Dana Rosemary Scallon set to defy previous predictions and make it on to the ballot paper, the ground has been laid for the mother of all battles.

It won't be for the squeamish. Yesterday Justice and Defence Minister Alan Shatter declared that Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness was "not an appropriate person" to hold the office of president.

To support his assertion, Mr Shatter pointed to the fact that Mr McGuinness had declined an invitation to attend the official dinner hosted by the Government at Dublin Castle for Queen Elizabeth II during her visit last May. In a possible hint at what we can expect over the next five weeks, he also questioned Mr McGuinness's "exotic background".

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