Sunday 20 October 2019

Candidates descend on Wexford in final push


Top: Michael D Higgins talking to Cian Allen and James Byrne while canvassing last Friday afternoon; right: Sean Gallagher with Megan Lambert of Rosslare; below: Mary Davis in Whites Hotel with Caroline Ferguson and Cliona O'Sullivan. CONOR CULLEN

WEXFORD was the place to be for the presidential candidates last weekend as the clock ticked down to Thursday's election DDay.

The national spotlight was shining on Wexford for the opening weekend of the Opera Festival and almost all the presidential hopefuls duly followed over the course of a few days.

Frontrunner Sean Gallagher was down on Friday night, following an earlier visit in late August, while he also took a spin on Saturday to canvass for votes throughout Co Wexford.

The only man who seems capable of derailing Mr Gallagher's bid to become the next Irish president, Michael D Higgins, was also in Wexford on Friday, eager not to let his rival steal the limelight.

The Labour candidate, like Mr Gallagher and all the candidates, made a number of scheduled stops, but he also had relatives to call in on. his sister-in-law Eileen and her husband Dr Paddy McKIernan, as well as a number of nieces and nephews.

Also in Wexford on Friday evening was Fine Gael's Gay MItchell, who gave a speech to supporters in the constituency office of Dr Liam Twomey on Anne Street, reaffirming his belief that - despite opinion polls to the contrary - his race is not already run.

On Saturday, two of the Independent candidates made their presence felt in Wexford, with Mary Davis and David Norris both getting out on the town to press the flesh and make their respective cases for votes on Thursday.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was actually the first of the candidates to arrive in Wexford. last Thursday, the day before the festival opened, and her itinerary included a walk on the Main Street, just two days after a lucky escape on the M4 motorway following a tyre blowout.

The only candidate not to take advantage of the Opera Festival celebrations was Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who had canvassed the Model County a week earlier.

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