| 12.8°C Dublin

Gallagher wants to be jobs minister - Mitchell

STRUGGLING presidential candidate Gay Mitchell today attacked campaign front-runner Sean Gallagher claiming that he is applying for the wrong office.

The Fine Gael MEP -- who has dropped to a disastrous 8pc in the latest poll -- said he believes he is "inspiring" people in his quest for the Aras.

And Mr Mitchell again refused to hold back in his criticism of other candidates, claiming that the former Dragons' Den star is not going to be "Minister for jobs".

"In relation to Sean, Sean is not going to be minister for innovation and jobs and that is the problem, that is a different job than the one Sean is applying for. This is a political job," he said.

A spokesperson for Mr Gallagher today dismissed Mr Mitchell's comments, claiming both candidates come from "very different walks of life".


"If Gay Mitchell wants to make comments, that's up to him, Sean is not getting involved in that. Gay Mitchell is standing over his political record, Sean comes from a much different walk of life.

"The polls certainly reflect the reaction we're getting on the ground but we're not being complacent, there's still 10 days to go."

Mr Gallagher became the focus of his rival's attacks after surging ahead in the polls to become the unlikely front-runner.

With the latest poll showing a first-time slip for Michael D Higgins, the Labour candidate went on the offensive and urged voters not to go for "a revival of a failed option of the leftovers of the Celtic Tiger".

Without naming Mr Gallagher directly, the Galway TD called on the electorate to "look at the record" when discussing job creation.

Meanwhile, Mr Mitchell strongly rejected the latest opinion poll findings -- which places him a massive 31pc behind Mr Gallagher.

"I'm sure that's the finding they got but volatility, to put it mildly, is the guiding principle in those polls. The findings tell me any candidate can go up 19pc in a poll -- no poll operates like that," he said.

"With my hand on my heart, I do not believe these polls will be the polls that come out on Thursday week.

"I have never in my entire life, except in this presidential election -- seen a candidate go up 19pc and go down 19pc."

The poll produced significant falls in ratings for several other candidates.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness secured just 13pc with Independent senator David Norris dropping to his lowest rating of 7pc.

And the campaign's two female candidates are lagging well behind -- Mary Davis is on 4pc while Dana Rosemary Scallon secured a dismal 2pc.