- Gerry Adams' uncertainty and discomfort when repeatedly pressed about Sinn Féin's plan to raise the marginal tax rate for those earning over €100,000, once again raises questions about Mr Adams's grasp of economics, budgetary matters and policy detail - Shane Coleman.
If we were already of a mind to vote rather than ignore the lot of them, having watched the leaders' debate last night on RTE Prime Time, nothing came through that would cause a change of voting preference. Same old, same old from the leaders of four of society’s capital friendly parties.
Apart from a great moment when Gerry Adams caught Taoiseach Enda Kenny like a rabbit in the headlights regarding the appointment of John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and a horrendous moment when Adams seemed utterly contemptuous of Senator Mairia Cahill, there was little else to make it memorable. Only one of the four looks like Taoiseach material and it is not the current incumbent.
Regardless of the formation of the next government, Micheal Martin has radically increased his chances of avoiding the unprecedented drop of becoming the only Fianna Fail leader never to make Taoiseach. If he resists the Gimore syndrome of office at all costs, opts to lead the opposition, even supporting a minority government on a case by case basis, the timing of the next election will be in his gift. He can strike at a moment of his choosing, when the electorate is ready to choose him as its Taoiseach. If he goes into government with Fine Gael as a junior partner and no revolving Taoiseach arrangement he is finished.
Last night’s was the first leaders’ debate I had actually watched. I am relieved to know there will be no more. I frequently complain that the post man should simply dump all election leaflets in the green recycle bin at the front of the house where there is a reasonable guarantee that they will eventually be turned into something useful. The postie doing it would also save me the bother of having to strain my arthritic riddled back in bending down to pick them up en route to the bin anyway. Like religious tracts and pamphlets, political election leaflets receive only a perfunctory glance in case they might be something useful like pizza promotions. After that - destination green bin.
The leaders debate is hard work for the viewer but there is not much hard labour involved in discerning the sagacity of Miriam Lord’s point that:
In Adams’s case it’s more like “Why do Sinn Féin have to explain everything twice? Once for Gerry to say it and the second time for Pearse/Mary Lou to clarify.
It is what makes it easy for Labour's Ged Nash to slag off Adams that he needs to take off his socks to count to twenty. While it will not require a professor of mathematics to work out that Gerry will have substantially more votes counted for him than Ged will accumulate, the Sinn Fein’s leader’s command of economics is no better than my own. Piss poor.
Although this electoral outing has delivered nothing like the thrashing Adams sustained in 2007 at the hands of an inquisitorial Michael McDowell, the performances by the old caudillo have caused more than a few nervous flutters within his party.
Matt Carty, one of the party’s MEPs, sort of confirmed this in the studio discussion following the debate in which he said that the job of Adams was to provide a general vision and not a detailed account of policy. Plausible only up until the point where the public are expected to trust a leader who will be in endless hock to mandarins and bureaucrats because he lacks the knowledge of detail to challenge them. Visionaries are fine until asked to explain the vision. Well, it's more of this and that for him and her.
As the four Amigos rode off into the sunset Adams at least must take credit for having chosen the best steed - a horse called Shergar.