Former teachers Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin are currently engaged in a right ding-dong battle over their pension entitlements and who is and isn’t going to take the money.
Kenny has already reneged on a $140,000 pension pay-out from his four and a half years in school after Martin piled on the political pressure.
Fine Gael leader Kenny has demanded that Martin resign his position as a secondary school teacher, traditionally held open for sitting TDs while they serve time in Dail Eireann.
And now Fine Gael rebel Michael Lowry, Independent TD for Tipperary, is in trouble for using students as a marketing tool at a secondary school he helped to fund in Borrisokane.
Lowry has caused uproar amongst angry parents after the school principal instructed two transition year teachers to distribute a letter looking for their support from the outgoing TD – in an Oireachtas headed envelope – to all students during assembly last Friday.
The begging letter included claims from Lowry that he had personally secured funding for the school and the former Fine Gael Minister has refused to apologise for his actions.
“The school facilitated me because they acknowledge the work, commitment, time and energy I have put in there to secure new facilities. I make no apology to anyone for this,” said Lowry.
A story that has nothing to do with the General Election but everything to do with one of the candidates is gripping the nation here in Ireland.
Libyan born Dublin South independent candidate Hussein Hamed has just discovered that his stepbrother Abdulkareem was killed by anti-aircraft fire during the riots in his native land on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Abdulkareem was one of the victims in the town of Benghazi when troops loyal to dictator Colonel Gadaffi opened fire with anti-aircaft guns on rioters protesting against the tyrannical rule in their country.
“My understanding is he was shot by anti-aircraft fire as he was about to throw a stone in front of the Republican Guards,” Hamed told the Irish Independent.
“My family is now is in a state of shock but at least we are proud that one of our family died fighting for Libya.”
Relatives of at least three members of the Irish Libyan community are believed to have died in the unrest in the North African state as the Department of Foreign Affairs continues in its efforts to repatriate some of the 40 Irish citizens living and working there.
Glad to report that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams hasn’t lost his sense of humor as he fights for the final seat in the Louth constituency.
Speaking to a farmer’s organization in the locality, Adams claimed: I am not and was not a member of the IFA.”
The Irish Farmers Association is a non-political organization by the way and in no way connected with the IRA whose links, or otherwise, with Adams have been a constant source of questions during this campaign.
Former MP Adams also provided a quick response to a journalist in Cork who wanted to know the difference between his campaigns for the Westminster parliament and Dail Eireann.
“I’ll be taking my seat,” quipped Adams, one of many Sinn Fein MPs who has boycotted the seat of British government over the years.
They may be favorites to form the next Coalition but there is still no love lost between the right wing Fine Gael and the lefties in Labour.
The latest signs of a rift came today when Labour leader Eamon Gilmore confirmed that he will not ask party supporters to transfer votes to Fine Gael in Friday’s election.
A number of unions loyal to the Labour Party have also instructed their members to ‘vote in a selfish manner’ and assign their transfers to Sinn Fein and the United Left Alliance.
Gilmore however has warned that supporting Sinn Fein or the Independents would increase the chances of a single-party administration – led by Fine Gael!
Irish emigrants in Australia want the politicians fighting the current election to recognize the right-to-vote of those forced to leave the country by the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.
The newly formed Irish In Exile group is based in Perth and represents a host of young emigrants to Australia.
They are demanding that all future Irish elections feature a mechanism for overseas voters to reflect the changing face of the country.
Enda Kenny can do no wrong in the polls – even the students are voting for his Fine Gael party. Some 34% of students polled backed a Fine Gael government, 30% opted for Labour and only 10% said they would vote for Fianna Fail with 6% support for Sinn Fein and 4% for the Greens. Significantly 23.7% of students are still undecided.
The Irish Wheelchair Association has discovered that 34 polling stations across the country cannot be accessed by voters in wheelchairs – after just five county registrars from 23 contacted bothered to reply to their request re accessibility.