Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gay Mitchell’s Áras campaign must be in lamentable trouble

Under a front page headline ‘Phil Hogan warns No terrorist in the Áras’ today’s edition of The Sunday Independent report today that Ireland would be left looking like a banana republic and denuded of serious levels of corporate investment within 24 months’ if Martin McGuinness is elected President. Not one syllable of explanation is reported as to how Gay Mitchell, the Fine Gael candidate is ‘suitable’ in Hogan’s opinion.

Does this suggest that those sponsoring corporate investment in Ireland are likely to reject the democratic mandate of the Irish people as Hogan warns us of their jackboot influence?

The implication of the Phil Hogan remark would therefore presumably mean that Northern Ireland is a dead duck as far as its economic development is concerned because a terrorist has become a Government leader and business decision makers might ‘whisper’ that they are ‘appalled’. That fragile economy, which already has an overweening dependency on State intervention and money, will therefore never achieve the vitality, independence and prosperity that can only be derived from the private sector if that is the case.

The Fine Gael party has responded to the Mitchell nomination with the sense of excitement, shock and awe more typically associated with a monastery of Trappist monks’ or an enclosed order of nuns.

Gay Mitchell was chosen 83 days ago as the Fine Gael candidate but he is badly trailing the popularity of his own party in the opinion polls. Why are the plain people of Ireland not recognising his ‘suitability’ to become the next President and reflecting in the polls? Why is Mitchell not colonising the public imagination with excitement and exhilaration at the prospect of him becoming President? Poll ratings of 10% in favour and 90% not in favour of his candidacy are not trends that inspire confidence in a public that is about to make a 7-year commitment in choosing of candidate to become our President.

If Ireland is threatened with being associated with the reputation of a banana republic the source of this lies with unprosecuted bankers rather than with presidential candidates. If the Fine Gael Party do not demonstrate even mild conviction that Mitchell is a desirable candidate how can they expect the electorate to respond otherwise? Mr Hogan, your starting point is to say something, anything positive about the candidacy of Mr Mitchell before treating the electorate as if they are undiscriminating buffoons. 

Mr Hogan, if Fine Gael have chosen a dud candidate for this election that is their problem and that is a reflection of their judgement – not the judgement of the electorate.

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