Ballot Capers with Hugh Linehan

A sideways look at the election

Cry Freedom

Frankly, the standard of election literature (don't call it junk mail) being distributed has been pretty appalling. Fair play, then, to Renua's Dublin South-West candidate Ronan McMahon, who has elevated the tone by distributing leaflets with a picture of Nelson Mandela on one side. "As I walked out the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison," reads the accompanying quote, presumably referring to the experiences of Ronan and his fellow Fine Gael escapees Lucinda Creighton, Terence Flanagan and Billy Timmins. "I used the leaflets when in the local elections," says the South County Dublin councillor. "They were very popular and some people kept them on their mantelpieces."

Unfortunately, the internet has no shortage of pranksters, which is why Yoda and Che Guevara have now been added to the Renua cause.

Vote early, vote often

We hate to break this to you, but the bookies are rapidly shortening their odds on 2016 being the first calendar year since 1982 to see two general elections.

Paddy Power


had initially made it 9/2 for the country to go to the polls twice this year but have now cut that to 2/1 “following heavy backing”. So prepare to “keep the recovery going” all the way to Christmas . . . Meanwhile,


leader Joan Burton’s odds of retaining her seat have worsened, with Paddy Power now rating Fianna Fáil’s

Jack Chambers

as a better bet for the final seat in Dublin West.

Grassroots inactivity

Is a political earthquake looming in rural Ireland? By teatime yesterday, the interactive poll on the

Irish Farmers Journal

website was showing 43 per cent support for the

Green Party

. Not everyone was convinced, though. “Some people in Young Fine Gael and Ógra Sinn Féin aren’t doing their jobs,” tweeted former Green senator

Dan Boyle

. Meanwhile, the keyboard warriors of Labour failed to rally to the cause of Senator

Lorraine Higgins

when ran a poll on whether readers agreed with her proposal that the Oireachtas should introduce stricter rules on acceptable dress in the chamber. The Senator’s criticism of TDs who “feel the need to stand out in the fashion of a mid-life sartorial crisis unbecoming of national parliamentarians ” was rejected by 62 per cent of

Irish Times


Fishy questions

Nineteen TDs have decided not to take another spin on the merry-go-round. But what does a TD do when the curtain falls on a parliamentary career? The authorities in Leinster House organised a seminar to help deputies manage their retirement. “We were asked about our plans, where we want to be in a few years’ time, what we might want to do,” one tells us. “There was a bit on financial planning and a discussion about diet. We were told that brain function deteriorates with age and at one point we were asked, ‘When is the last time you had fish?’ . . . It’s very embarrassing. I suppose really, it’s like training to be an OAP.”

Review of the day

“A fairly accurate idea of this book’s overall effect can be gleaned from the image on its cover: a selfie in which a goat rests its affable head on the author’s fleece-jacketed shoulder. The goat is beaming happily, but Adams’s expression is cryptic; his eyes stare blackly from behind dark-tinted spectacles, as though quietly notifying the potential novelty book-buyer that it would be in the best interest of the goat’s health if he or she approached the checkout and made the purchase without any further delay.” – The

New Yorker

reviews Gerry Adams’s

My Little Book of Tweets