Gay Mitchell is once again under fire following comments he made about the possibility of Ireland rejoining the British Commonwealth. Speaking during yesterday’s presidential debate on Today FM’s ‘The Last Word’, Mr Mitchell said he was open to such a possibility “if it was the price of a united Ireland”.
Unsurprisingly his view was coolly received by Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness who labelled Mitchell’s musings as “pathetic”. He added: “We’re a Republic, we’re very proud to be a Republic, and I don’t think we want to have our President be subservient to any king or queen from anywhere else in the world.”
Earlier, Independent candidate Mary Davis vioced her anger at Mr Mitchell’s seemingly dismissive comments made in relation to the Special Olympics.
This bout of criticism is the latest in a long line of negative press for the Fine Gael candidate whose campaign has hit a series of stumbling blocks in the last few weeks. Mr Mitchell is lagging behind in the polls at present and the public backing by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has so far failed to boost his flagging campaign.
While canvassing in Galway recently, the pair were heckled by members of the Irish Turf Cutters and Contractors Association at Tuam Mart. Chants of “no turf, no votes” rang out, led by Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. The protest refers to planned EU access restrictions to bogs countrywide.
Association chairman Michael Fitzmaurice insisted that Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan could no longer be trusted to deal with the issue of turf-cutting rights, maintaining he “went behind our backs” during negotiations.
Garda had to clear a path for Mr Kenny to move through the crowd.