Miriam Lord’s week: Elections have seen more launches than a space programme

The most eye-catching pledge so far: Labour’s plan for a dog-poo DNA bank

Eamon Ryan: Green candidate gave his occupation as ‘former Government minister’

Eamon Ryan: Green candidate gave his occupation as ‘former Government minister’

Sat, May 3, 2014, 12:00

How many launches can a campaign have? Never enough, it seems. Keeps them off the streets.

All the main parties, minor parties and independents were launching with abandon all week. The national campaign has to be plugged, the local campaigns have to be launched nationally, then locally. The manifestos have to be launched. Local and European. Then individual European candidates need to be launched. And local candidates launched individually, locally.

And the bye-election launches. Them too.

At this rate, how will Enda Kenny ever fulfil that promise to speak to every person in every county in Ireland by polling day?

The Labour party has still to launch its manifesto. They are launching Emer Costello tomorrow in Dublin. (The poor woman has been launched more times than the space shuttle at this stage.) But the manifesto for the European Parliament isn’t out until next week.

Never mind. Labour’s big selling point on the doorsteps seems to be Martin Schulz. Who?

Well. You see, if you vote for Labour, their MEPs will be able to vote for Martin Schulz to be in charge of all of Europe and he has Labour’s and Ireland’s best interests at heart and so a vote for a Labour candidate is a vote for Martin.

And we won’t mention the water. Or stuff.

Local manifestos are being produced and launched locally, from what we can gather. The draft manifesto for Dublin, which we have seen, has one rather magnificent pledge.

Labour will consider proposals for a dog poo DNA bank to combat repeat offenders.

Swear to God. Absolutely true.

And proper order too, say all of us responsible dog owners. But will they be testing the dogs or the owners?

Dogs love lamp-posts. When they look up, do they think: “That’s some smile Brian Hayes has on him in his election posters.”

When the Dáil returned from the Easter lay-off on Wednesday, we were relieved to see that the junior minister had given Gerry Adams back his teeth. Apparently Brian borrowed them for his photo-shoot so he could dazzle voters with his gnashers from lamp post height, at night.

Indeed, there seemed nothing amiss with the Sinn Féin leader when he went through the motions at Leaders’ Questions just after 5pm on Wednesday. There was shock in Leinster House when, just a few hours later, news came through of his arrest in Northern Ireland.

The Antrim Road detention of Adams unsettled the unflappable Sinn Féin a little this week, with Mary Lou McDonald sounding uncharacteristically out of sorts doing many of her interviews on this unfolding story.

Speaking of unflappability, the serene Cllr Eoin Ó Broin never lost his composure under sustained questioning from Vincent Browne on Thursday night.

Sinn Féin representatives beat their political rivals hands down when it comes to dealing with interviewers. They are slick and well schooled and rarely wrong-footed. As demonstrated eventually by Ó Broin when repeatedly posed a difficult, straight, question: “I’ll answer the question in the way I feel is most appropriate...”

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