Election 2020 outtakes: SF candidate takes a break from it all

Patricia Ryan goes on holiday in election week while knives come out in Meath East

Let’s face it, nobody would deny a general election candidate a holiday given the gruelling demands of the campaign, it’s just that most of them take it afterwards.

In keeping with party spirit, however, Sinn Féin's Kildare South candidate Patricia Ryan is taking a radical approach, bucking establishment convention.

According to a report on Laois Today, the councillor has “gone overseas on holidays at a critical stage in the 2020 general election campaign”.

Maybe she feels it a risk worth taking given the addition of a fourth seat in the constituency and the surge in Sinn Féin support generally. After all, Ryan did put in a respectable performance in 2016 with 4,200 first preference votes.


A party spokesperson said the candidate received a short holiday as a Christmas gift from her children “and the dates couldn’t be changed at short notice”. The politics of the tourism industry.

Meanwhile, at a Fianna Fáil press conference on education and public services, Kildare South TD Fiona O'Loughlin couldn't help but make hay.

“We’ve had three constituency debates over the last five days and [the] Sinn Féin candidate has not been at any of them because she is on holidays,” she said.

“I just don’t think it makes for a very credible candidate.”

Background information

God forbid Fine Gael comes across too regal but officials (over) managing their message appeared to have taken exception to efforts by Virgin Media Newsto broadcast from a press conference at the posh City Assembly House in Dublin.

Correspondent Richard Chambers tweeted that he and his crew were moved "out onto the street" because of concerns over the backdrop – fancy portraits and period cornicing no less.

“The word is the background for some of our broadcasts looked too grand,” Chambers posted. Why then, were the media invited there in the first place, one might ask?

Party tensions surface

It has been dubbed Fine Gael’s Meath East Melee. Well, okay, it hasn’t but party tensions in the three-seater appear to be reaching the surface as Fine Gael faces a dip in the polls and a last-minute scramble to save as many seats as possible.

It makes this battleground all the more mouth watering for election sports fans. Two high-profile Ministers – Regina Doherty of Social Protection and Helen McEntee of European Affairs – appear to be locked in a ground war.

Sources in Doherty’s team camp have accused their counterparts of leafleting and canvassing in areas allocated to Doherty.

On the other side, sources in McEntee’s campaign claimed Doherty had broken agreed boundary divisions – citing infringements on carefully brokered understandings regarding leaflets and designated poster areas.

Is it a first sniff of national panic setting in among party TDs?

Quote of the day:

If they [Sinn Féin] go into a government against the interests of those who voted for them they will definitely pay a price

– Rise TD Paul Murphy

200 – The number of monthly clinics the Healy-Raes say they hold to maintain their Kerry dynasty

Cautionary tale

The latest soapbox video from Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe posted on social media sounded a little familiar.

“Not all change can be positive. There are risks and we want to be part of change that continues to make a difference,” he told shoppers on Henry Street in Dublin from his soapbox in a thinly veiled reference to Sinn Féin’s surge in the polls among an electorate that wants change.

Could Donohoe be trying to channel a little Selina Meyer, the fictional US vice-president and later president in the comedy TV series Veep?

Meyer's campaign slogan in the fourth series was "Continuity with Change" – chosen because, according to the show's creator Armando Iannucci, it sounded snappy but "means nothing".

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times