Presidential campaign ends in turmoil
Around 3.1 million Irish voters will elect a new president today. The incumbent president, Mary McAleese, will stand down on 10th November having served for 14 years and the maximum two terms.
Up until last weekend Seán Gallagher an entrepreneur and former member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive was the lead runner. A poll published by the Irish Times by Ipsos MRBI put him on 40%. However, in the last televised debate, Sinn Féin candidate, Martin McGuiness, who is in third place in the polls with 15%, accused Gallagher of wrong doing. Gallagher is supposed to have accepted a cheque for party funds from a convicted fuel smuggler.
As a result of the row Paddy Power, the online gambling company, has second placed Michael D. Higgins of the Labour Party as the frontrunner. Higgins is on 25% in the Ipsos MRBI poll.
Counting for the election won’t start until Friday and the result is expected on Saturday.
Irish voters will also be voting in two referenda. One is to make changes to the 29th Amendment to remove the ban on cutting judicial salaries whilst they are in office. The other is to give Oireachtas (parliament) committees more powers to investigate matters of public interest under the 30th Amendment.
The voters of Dublin West will also be voting in a by election for the Dáil Éireann (lower house) to elect a successor to Fianna Fáil TD Brian Lenihan who died in June.