Election 2020 outtakes: Varadkar’s crafty cup switch

Martin plays down expectations while Cork Independent reuses old posters – with an added bonus

Spot the difference: Leo Varadkar out canvassing in Galway. Photographs: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Spot the difference: Leo Varadkar out canvassing in Galway. Photographs: Joe O’Shaughnessy

 

Leo’s cup slip-up

Leo Varadkar dismissed accusations he was a “Tory boy” last week, but it appears his spin doctors have taken a lesson from their Conservative counterparts across the sea.

As Boris Johnson walked through his party conference last October, he was caught on camera being handed a coffee by one of his aides. But he only got to hold on to it momentarily, as a second aide snatched it from him with a stern rebuke: “No disposable cups.”

Fast forward to the Taoiseach’s walkabout in Galway, where he emerged from Butler’s Chocolate Cafe on to a chilly William Street clinching a steaming coffee – in a single-use disposable cup.

One of his eagle-eyed aides may have spotted the potential PR blunder.

Just moments later Leo was curiously sipping from a much more environmentally-friendly keep cup.

Martin plays Rabbitte card

Micheál Martin looks to be going one further than Pat Rabbitte’s infamous admission that election promises aren’t worth the leaflets they’re printed on. Some years into its ill-fated coalition with Fine Gael in 2013, Labour’s then minister for communications Rabbitte was pressed about a catalogue of electoral promises which were ultimately reneged on.

“Yeah, well, I mean, isn’t that what you tend to do during an election?” he replied with a shrug.

But Fianna Fáil leader Martin isn’t even waiting until after polling day to come clean, it seems.

“Things are now being said and will be said to you that you need to be somewhat cautious about in terms of accepting,” he told the Irish Farmers’ Association.

“And by the way,” he confessed, “be cautious about accepting what we say as well – I accept that.”

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Former Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick: ‘I felt like a puppet on a string when I was in Fine Gael’ Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Former Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick: ‘I felt like a puppet on a string when I was in Fine Gael’ Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Fitzpatrick happy to speak freely

Hell hath no fury like a backbench politician scorned. Peter Fitzpatrick, who left Fine Gael in 2018 after complaining about being “isolated”in the party and not having his views heeded, is making his views known now.

Standing as an Independent in Louth, he said he was “free to speak my mind now”.

Mostly on his mind, it transpires, was his former party.

“I felt like a puppet on a string when I was in Fine Gael ... as a backbencher you are just there to push a button,” he told the Drogheda Independent.

Not done there, the former Louth Gaelic football manager took aim specifically at former party colleague Simon Harris, who “has been the worst Minister for Health”.

Fitzpatrick is hoping to woo voters with a campaign focused on hospital overcrowding.

5 – The number of years it will take to prepare and plan for a referendum on a reunified Ireland, according to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Independent councillor Alan Coleman, standing in Cork South-West
Independent councillor Alan Coleman, standing in Cork South-West

Independent stance

Standing for election can be a hair-raising helter skelter for would-be TDs.

But the diminishing hair line of one Dáil hopeful worries him in his bid to secure voter recognition.

Burnishing his green credentials, Independent councillor Alan Coleman, standing in Cork South-West, is laudably reusing the same posters he used last time out in 2016.

“We’re recycling them and people know who I am,” he said, before striking a note of caution.

“But I am showing slightly more hair than I currently have.”

Renua candidate’s pet hate

Is Renua looking to arrest its electoral collapse on a tough law and order platform?

One candidate standing in Carlow has suggested countrywide prosecutions of her political foes – for leaving election poster cable ties on lamp posts.

“A pet hate of mine,” Helena Byrne declared to Carlow Live.

She went on to appeal to “everyone to take the time to photograph the posters now and then if cable ties are left behind take the photo again and go to the local authority with both as evidence.”

She added: “If prosecutions are issued on a countrywide scale, then the move towards a review of the use of posters will be closer.”