Martin McGuinness: Holding solidly, and the attacks on him about his PIRA past will probably do little, because it is old news. Having said that, he needs to watch his tendency to talk about some southern sections of society the way he talks about hardline unionists. It may be okay to sectionalise society into them and us in the North, but it won’t wash here from a potential president. Also, don’t discount the dissidents trying something to attempt to embarrass him with either his own hardline voters, or moderate voters.
Dana: Dana still hasn’t put a foot wrong, sending out all the right messages to the conservative Catholic eurosceptic constituency, which is probably 15% of the country at least. The only people she pisses off are people who would never vote for her anyway. If she was more ambitious she’d use this campaign as a platform to launch a new party.
Michael D. The man to beat. Turning his age to his advantage, transfer friendly, and the candidate most likely to make people go “Ahhh!”. Could win even from fourth place on the first count.
David Norris: Getting nominated looks like the high point of his campaign. Is struggling to get into his “Funny uncle” persona that made him so attractive in the first place. Have never met the man, but keep hearing people say that the more the Irish people hear from him, the less they’ll like him. Most likely candidate to self destruct during the next four weeks. The delay in posters will probably help him, as they’ll get a bigger impact “Freshening up” the telegraph poles.
Mary Davis. Will be interesting to see what this week’s effect will be on her. The phrase “Mary Davis Special Olympics” which got her this far is now being filled with “Mary Davis Very Well Paid for the Special Olympics.” There are some who suggest that €156k a year is not that much money. Let them say that on Joe Duffy and see what the Irish people think. Interestingly, RTE are paralysed on stories like this because of how much they pay their own people. One other issue: Loads of candidates touch up their photos, but when people see you, then your poster and mistake you for your own mother, that’s too far.
Sean Gallagher: Every election has a candidate who makes the “No Posters” pledge and it’s a dumb idea every time. You get 15 seconds of publicity, and then disappear from the public radar for the rest of the campaign. Posters work.
Gay Mitchell: I had finished this piece before realising I’d forgotten about Gay Mitchell, which sums up his campaign. But don’t discount the FG vote.