As the race for the Aras accelerates into the gutter in what could be the most poisoness campaign ever, Doherty slammed Fine Gael for a myriad of comments about the Derryman over the weekend.
“It’s a sign of desperation and political naivety on behalf of the government that they think that attacking Martin McGuinness in this way will somehow boost their own support base,” claimed Doherty.
“It’s clear that they’re frustrated that only just over a quarter of their own supporters are willing to support Gay Mitchell.”
The Gaoth Dobhair man spoke as it was revealed that almost half of voters polled by the Paddy Power bookmaker chain believe McGuinness won Friday night’s television debate with the other six candidates in the Presidential election.
The Sinn Fein candidate polled 46.2 per cent in the online poll with Sean Gallagher a distant second on 14.2 per cent.
Senator David Norris was third on 11.1 per cent with Labor’s Michael D Higgins on just 10.3 per cent. Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell got 6.4 per cent with Mary Davis on 2.9 per cent.
Higgins is still favorite to win the race for the Aras at odds of 4/7, mainly because his nearest rivals are not expected to get transfers.
The Fine Gael attacks on McGuinness intensified in the Sunday Independent – which dedicated large tracts of its paper at the weekend to attacks on McGuinness and led a similar campaign against Mary McAleese 14 years ago – when Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan said that multinational companies would be appalled if Mr McGuinness was President, and indicated his IRA past would drive away corporate investment from Ireland.
This was jumped on by Sinn Fein who pointed out that Mr McGuinness had been a special guest of New York Stock Exchange and had brought in thousands of jobs to the North with both Ian Paisley and his DUP successor Peter Robinson.
Mr McGuinness said the interventions were bizarre and had no validity in the campaign.
He added that it was “absolute rubbish” to suggest that he had the proceeds of the Northern Bank robbery at his disposal, as Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe claimed in a Tweet.
Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell has said in reference to Martin McGuinness that the people could not put somebody into Áras an Uachtaráin when they do not know who he really is.
Mr Mitchell claimed that Mr McGuiness did not leave the IRA in 1974 and he said he did not live on the average industrial wage as he had claimed.
But tonight Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to endorse the attacks on McGuinness – though he didn’t ask them to be withdrawn either.
Four more weeks of mud-slinging ahead!Tags: