Sinn Féin are heading into the final three days of campaigning on top of the opinion polls and, should Mary Lou McDonald continue her solid performances in tonight’s Leaders Debate, could be cursing their choice not to run more candidates across a number of constituencies - including Cork North Central.
Tonight, however, Ms McDonald will have her parties policies scrutinised by Fine Gael leader Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, if campaigning over the last week is anything to go by.
The parties have launched stinging attacks on Sinn Féin at almost every opportunity - the latest coming today from Tánaiste and Cork South Central’s Simon Coveney, alongside Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Donohoe has admitted that a Fianna Fáil / Sinn Féin coalition is a possibility, while Coveney has claimed that Sinn Féin “line up Irish people against other Irish people.” In a speech today, the Tánaiste warned that “the word “change” is being ambushed and abused” by Sinn Féin.
“The brand of politics practiced by Sinn Fein is built on discontent and division - feeding and encouraging undercurrents of anger. There is always a “them” and “us” in Sinn Fein politics,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paschal Donohoe called the Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin “the ‘Wreckers’ and the ‘Reckless’” and said they present “a clear and present danger to our economy, society and future.” SINN FÉIN POLICING PLANS Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, meanwhile, was out on the picket line with striking TUI members today, along with a number of other candidates across Cork.
He and Councillor Thomas Gould, who’s running in Cork North Central, have pledged to increase the number of Gardaí and station opening hours in Cork city should they be the party elected to Government.
Among the other proposals are up to date technologies, while funding would be increased for community schemes such as CCTV, and they want to establish a National Property Register to aid in stolen property recovery.
The party also wants to reform Joint Policing Committees to give local communities more power in how they wish to see the Gardaí operating in their respective areas.
CORK MAIL CENTRE
Solidarity’s Mick Barry has called on Micheál Martin to clarify his position on the future of the Cork Mail Centre.
It is due to close on March 31, which means that it could potentially be stopped by the next Government.
Should Fianna Fáil form part of the next Government, as opinion polls suggest, Micheál Martin could have a say in whether the closure goes ahead as planned.
He is on record as saying that he felt the decision to shut the Mail Centre was a poor one and Mick Barry has said he “needs to answer the question as to whether he will intervene to stop the closure if he is Taoiseach before March 31.”