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Norris spin doctor defends sneering blog

THE chief spin doctor behind David Norris' presidential campaign has defended sneering remarks he made about several other candidates.

PR guru Paul Allen ridiculed the credentials of candidates Sean Gallagher and Dana Rosemary Scallon in articles written for his blog last month.

The blog -- which has since been removed -- refers to Mr Gallagher as Muttley -- the cartoon dog who is unable to talk properly.

He further labels Dana Rosemary Scallon as "Ireland's answer to Penelope Pitstop".

"Let's hope by September Muttley will have given up trying to catch the pigeon and Penelope Pitstop (Dana) will have seen sense," he wrote.

Mr Allen today defended the remarks.

He told the Herald: "I'm a regular blogger and I regularly write about political and media issues. They were my personal opinions."

The Herald can reveal that Mr Allen -- who owns Dublin-based firm Allen PR -- is working for his third presidential hopeful of the campaign.

He was previously working behind the scenes on RTE broadcaster Gay Byrne's initial presidential bid and prior to that he was negotiating on behalf of failed Sinn Fein hopeful Niall O'Dowd.

Mr Allen admitted on his blog that: "It doesn't get much dirtier than an Irish Presidential campaign. Smear tactics, malicious mobs and well-timed leaks have become the weapons of choice used to cripple the most competent of candidates."