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'Jesus, we got off lightly': Not quite 'rumble in Temple Bar' as rival MEP hopefuls hand in their papers

With 29 days to go before the elections, the political parties are turning routine tasks into media events and there’s some interesting stuff being said and done as we spent the morning loitering around Temple Bar.

LESS THAN A month to go but the real campaigning for the local and European elections is only getting started as political parties battle it out for the media’s attention by notifying us of every routine task candidates are undertaking in the hope we’ll give them some love, or publicity as it’s more commonly known.

That’s why this morning, found itself loitering on Fownes Street just off Temple Bar. We were waiting for the Sinn Féin European election candidate for Dublin, Lynn Boylan, and then the Labour candidate and sitting MEP, Emer Costello, to hand their nomination papers to the Dublin City returning officer.

Frankly, we were a bit giddy with election excitement given we’d just come from the launch of Fine Gael’s digital campaign where candidates looking at candidates looking at iPads was the must-have photo:

fine gael looking at ipads Source: Hugh O'Connell/

“These tools will be really useful for people and allow them to find their Local and European candidates,” said TD and MEP hopeful Simon Harris at the launch of two snazzy looking Fine Gael websites.

Harris himself must have been giddy with excitement having been shown how it all works by the tech savvy Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald:

But it was all too much for us as we departed early for Temple Bar and the ‘handing in of nomination papers extravaganza’.

This is something every candidate has to do but why do it alone when you can have a bit of fuss from the fourth estate?

Sinn Féin was up first with Boylan and her campaign manager McDonald sneaking into the returning officer’s office before emerging for a chat and some pictures with the assembled media.

“I can’t think of a better woman to carry the Sinn Féin flag,” said McDonald of Boylan who for her part claimed that she had been knocking on doors that hadn’t been knocked on by any other party, namely Labour.

“A lot of people I’m meeting on the doors are saying they haven’t had anyone knock on their door other than Sinn Féin,” she said.

Then it was time to pose for pics and Mary Lou was pleasantly surprised that it was all so painless:

Down the street was a Labour spy making sure that Sinn Féin finished up before its posse arrived. Yes, this is what actually happens. Yes, there are people who worry about the appalling vista that is a TD bumping into a fellow TD from another party. Heaven forbid that there be such a sight.

Once the Sinn Féin delegation had left, the Labour spy, appropriately dressed in red, emerged and soon a small platoon of  party handlers and members of its youth wing emerged to hang out around the returning officer’s office while they waited for the Tánaiste and others, including Joan Burton, to arrive.

And boy did they arrive in style:

Eamon Gilmore declared that Emer Costello “is a candidate who solves problems”. Not only that, she is someone “who believes in solving problems” and looking for “solutions to them”.


To no one’s surprise Costello said: “I am somebody who has a proven track record.” Once the formalities were over the media asked about the more pressing issue of water charges.

It was then put to Costello that Sinn Féin was saying naughty things behind Labour’s back and implying that the junior coalition partner hasn’t been knocking on doors.

There were eruptions of nervous laughter from all, including Gilmore.

Not so. Costello detailed how she has been literally criss-crossing the city in the past 24 hours.

“I was thinking the same, that I haven’t seen any Sinn Féin canvassers,” the MEP hit back before saying she started yesterday in Clonsilla at half 7 yesterday. HALF 7!

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Then she was in Crumlin, Terenure, Rathmines, Ballyfermot, and Glasnevin. She had been knocking on doors, been in supermarkets, just everywhere. And the response? Well, the response has been just swell.

“Frankly I think the media is over-hyping this thing about the Labour party because I’m not experiencing it,” she added in her most upbeat voice.

Then it was inside to submit those nomination papers.

The Labour delegation spent quite a bit of time in there to the frustration of the assembled media who waited for them to emerge.

Once they did and headed back towards Kildare Street, a man and his dog stopped to give out.

“Give back the pensions!” he shouted before adding succinctly (off camera): “Losers”

Poor Emer Costello must have been shocked. She hasn’t been getting any of that on the doorsteps, or in the supermarkets.

Or so she says.

Later in the day Brian Hayes arrived in his Brian Hayes car to hand in his nomination papers.

We missed it unfortunately (we had to lie down with all the morning’s excitement) but thankfully the Photocall snapper was on hand to capture this great shot:

Handing in Nomination Papers Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WATCH: This helpful video tells Fine Gael candidates how to behave on the doorstep

Whoops: Fianna Fáil candidate’s poster blocks traffic lights

Follow all our Election 2014 coverage here >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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