Election Blog 7

Wednesday 5th February

The Prime Time programme on Tuesday night was by far the best debate we have seen in this election campaign so far. None of the three leaders landed a knockout blow on the other although it was interesting to see the three main party leaders put under pressure by the excellent moderators Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullogh.

So how did they do?

Micheal Martin: This was his best showing out of all the debates so far. Over recent debates he came across as cranky and bad tempered but he was assured and calm this time. He resisted the temptation to go for the Sinn Fein jugular and he concentrated on the issues. He struggled on a couple of matters including possible Government partners but overall he did well.

Leo Varadkar: This was probably his most assured outing in this election campaign. When pressed he appeared calm and he never got into a major spat with the others. However he appeared to be on the back foot on a number issues such as housing and health which was not unexpected.

Mary Lou McDonald: Was caught off-guard and struggled with the Special Criminal Court issue and was also on the back-foot on the Paul Quinn murder story as well. However she was able to take pot shots at the two major parties and she largely stayed out of trouble. I have a feeling that the legacy issues that would bother many older voters who can remember the troubles will not affect the younger generation who seem to have flocked to Sinn Fein this time.

There are only three days to go to the election and there are sure to be surprises on the day. There will be a surge of support for Sinn Fein and The Greens to a lesser extent and Fine Gael look like they will lose seats and Fianna Fail will gain some.

The fun will start when they try to form a Government.

It’s the biggest cliché in the book but…. it’s all to play for.

More soon.