A race that once looked like a shoo-in for Gerry Adams to win a seat in the Irish parliament now looks like a struggle after recent developments in the Co. Louth constituency where Adams is running.
A campaign by anti-Adams figures, demanding he come clean as to whether he was in the IRA or not, an accusation he has always denied, has won headlines as the election battle heats up.
Much of the Dublin-based media has remained hostile towards Adams and continuously demands to know why he is running in the Irish Republic and whether he was ever a member of the IRA.
Last week, Adams came under attack from family members of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who was killed by the IRA. Her body was buried in an unmarked grave in Louth.
Adams was considered a favorite in the four-seat Louth constituency, much of which is on the border with Northern Ireland.
Adams typically secures over 70 percent of the first preferences in Stormont elections in his West Belfast homeland, but campaigning in the Irish Republic, where he recently relocated, is a completely different experience.
Many voters there do not wish to be confronted with memories of the Northern Ireland conflcit, despite the fact that Adams played a huge role in ending the strife.
Under Ireland’s complicated electoral system Adams will need second preference votes from other parties in order to win the seat, which is where his difficulty may lie.
Strong campaigns by the Labor Party and the second Fine Gael candidate, Peter Fitzpatrick, could have Adams battling for the last seat.
Why all Irish men’s beards are red