Fine Gael Presidential election candidate Gay Mitchell has turned nasty in a bid to arrest his rapid slide down the opinion polls.
The Dubliner has slammed Independent contender Sean Gallagher as a celebrity candidate, launched another attack on Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness and derided Michael D Higgins for his love of poetry.
The move is seen by commentators as a last ditch attempt by Mitchell to garner support at a time when even rank and file members of the Fine Gael party have all but abandoned him.
In a clear move to turn the heat up on his fellow candidates, Mitchell aimed most of his ire at the TV personality and former Fianna Fail National Executive member Gallagher.
Gallagher has emerged as a serious rival to Labor Party hopeful Higgins and McGuinness in the opinion polls but Mitchell has sought to dismiss him as a celebrity candidate.
“I would warn the people of Ireland against electing rivals who lack substance,” blasted Mitchell.
If we choose celebrity over substance I think we are making a very big mistake. I think there are people who are very good candidates but really don’t have the vision and experience that I have.”
Re-iterating his lack of belief in recent statements from McGuinness and the Sinn Fein camp, Mitchell also hit out at election favorite Higgins, currently 25 points ahead of the Fine Gael man in the opinion polls.
“Young people should not be pushed into the Skype emigration generation while we sip champagne in the park reciting poetry,” said Mitchell in comments aimed directly at the Labor Party camp.