Hopefuls Clash at TV3 Debate

The second television debate of the Presidential election campaign has seen the candidates clash on their records, and their ideas for the office.

The seven candidates took part in the debate on TV3 with only four weeks remaining until the country heads to the polls.

Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell continued his attack against Sinn Fèin`s  Martin McGuinness over his membership of the IRA, but it was host Vincent Browne who really put the boot in, producing a number of books claiming Mr McGuinness was a member long after 1974. Something the Derry native staunchly denies.

Mr McGuinness said people were not interested in the issue and would judge him on his overall record, primarily his role in the peace process of Northern Ireland.

Dana Rosemary Scallon claimed the constitution needed to be protected from European bureaucrats,echoign her sentiments from last Friday`s Late Late Show.

Michael D Higgins insisted the people had the final say on any change to the Constitution.

Seán Gallagher said people were not interested in the past, and that they wanted to know what the candidates thought about the future.

Under attack for her membership of boards, Mary Davis said she had been asked to join them because of her expertise and leadership skills.

David Norris robustly denied he was ambivalent about child protection, insisting his conscience was clear.The Senator also stated that it is a pity there is no role for a vice president as he would have liked Higgins to serve beside him.

There will be a further two televised debates before the election takes place on 27 October. TG4 will host one on 18 October before RTÉ’s The Frontline holds the final televised debate on 24 October.

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