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The TrailFix: After five years, Enda is finally coming out to play

The best and worst bits from today’s #ge16 campaign trail.

EVERY NIGHT DURING the general election, TheJournal.ie brings you the latest from the Election 2016 campaign trail.

11/2/2016 Tanaiste and Labour Party Leader Joan Bu Two-year-old Emelia Kelly looks less than pleased to see Tánaiste Joan Burton who visited a new housing development in Blanchardstown today. Source: Mark Stedman

Everybody’s talking about

It’s hard to believe that Enda Kenny has managed to avoid doing any TV debate with the other party leaders in his five years as Taoiseach. He’ll argue that he debates them every week in the Dáil but that’s a world away from the sort of encounter he can expect in the TV3 studios tonight where he’ll face Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Joan Burton.

To some extent, Kenny’s studious avoidance of them has meant that expectations for tonight are fairly low. “As long as he doesn’t eat his own tie it’ll be a success,” one Fianna Fáiler joked earlier today. Kenny’s reluctance to debate most likely stems from his performance in the 2007 TV debates where he was soundly beaten by Bertie Ahern.

18/5/2007. Election 2007 TV Debates Enda Kenny during the 2007 TV debates Source: RollingNews.ie

His main threat tonight will be Ahern’s old colleague Micheál Martin, a politician who may be hampered by his association with the previous government, but who has exuded a new-found confidence since his strong Ard Fheis speech last month. Martin genuinely believes he can lead a Fianna Fáil government after this election.

It will be fascinating to watch how Joan Burton manages to align herself with Kenny and at the same time give people a reason to vote Labour ahead of Fine Gael. Meanwhile Gerry Adams will try to land as many soundbite blows as possible and will be hoping he doesn’t trip up on any tough economic questions.

It’s sure to be a fascinating watch. We’ll be liveblogging and tweeting the debate from 8.30pm with all the analysis and reaction afterwards.

Slap Down of the Day

Micheál Martin’s announcement that Fianna Fáil will consider former cabinet ministers for future government ministries has been met with this hilarious and scathing response from Labour.

FactCheck of the Day

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As part of our general election coverage, we’re testing the truth of claims made by candidates and parties on the campaign trail. Later tonight we’ll be examining some of the claims made in the TV3 debate.

Row of the Day

Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter is not letting this one go. He wants his Dublin Rathdown constituency rival Shane Ross to explain why, since 2011, he has consistently voted against the use of the Special Criminal Court where the DPP fears jury intimidation.

rossshatter

Ross has already explained that he has opposed the legislation because the government “stifled” debate on the issue. But now Shatter wants a public debate with the independent TD. If you’re both reading we’d be happy to facilitate one at our famous High Table…

WTF Moment of the Day 

We don’t know what to make of Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon’s campaign video. It’s certainly different, as is the response to it from Sinn Féin rival Réada Cronin.

Source: Martin Heydon/YouTube

Source: glandigi Online Media/YouTube

It was a good day for 

Source: Gary Gannon for Dublin Central/YouTube

It was a bad day for 

  • Joan Burton won’t have liked the poll in today’s Irish Independent.
  • An eagle-eyed constituent of Fine Gael TD James Bannon spotted an unfortunate typo in his leaflet which claims he’s been a poll-topper in Longford since 1898. That’s some longevity.

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Tomorrow’s news today: What’s happening on the campaign trail

  • Fine Gael: The Taoiseach and other ministers will be outlining the party’s plans to tackle crime in Cork. Enda Kenny will also be canvassing in Cork South Central, Cork North Central, Cork South West and Cork East.
  • Labour: Joan Burton and Kathleen Lynch will launch the party’s healthcare plan in Cork.
  • Fianna Fáil: The party is publishing its childcare proposals tomorrow morning. Micheál Martin will be canvassing in Donegal with a rally in Letterkenny tomorrow night.
  • Sinn Féin: Peadar Tóibín will launch his party’s job creation proposals at Sinn Féin HQ. Gerry Adams is canvassing in his own constituency of Louth.
  • Social Democrats: Catherine Murphy will launch the party’s affordable housing policy in Dublin.
  • Green Party: Eamon Ryan and co will launch their manifesto in Dublin. 
  • Independent Alliance: The grouping of independents are holding a press conference to ‘debunk the myths about Independents’.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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