These Are The People You Need To Watch In Today's Irish Election

ireland, flag

Photo: AP

Throughout today, Ireland’s population has been voting to determine who will be the next person to lead its country, hopefully restoring its international reputation. The campaign has not been without controversy. One candidate was a former leading figure in the IRA. Another pleaded for leniency for his ex-lover after it was revealed he had raped a 15-year-old boy.

This week the front runner, entrepreneur Sean Gallagher, was accused of accepting money from a convicted fuel smuggler  on behalf of his former party putting his pedigree for the presidency into doubt.  

So, with the result very much up in the air, have a look at who could be the next person to lead Ireland. 

Michael D. Higgins

Odds of winning: 1/6 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Labour

Age: 70

Notable policies: As a former arts minister a lot of Higgins' rhetoric throws weight behind the idea of defining a specific Irish culture.

The Irish Times noted that he's keen to implement a 'radically inclusive citizenship' across the country. He once wrote that the EU was unable to celebrate diverse cultures and that the organisation was drifting towards a homogenized future where the likely outcome would be war among different cultures.

Martin McGuinness

Odds of winning: 22/1 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Sinn Fein

Age: 61

Notable policies: McGuinness has talked a lot about equality and the fact that if he wins he'll only seek an average working wage for his salary.

He has tried not to talk about his involvement in the IRA during the 1970s, but he hasn't been allowed to shuffle that detail under the carpet. He previously said that most people don't care about the fact he was in the IRA, though the coverage he's had in the build up to the election suggests otherwise.

Gay Mitchell

Odds of Winning: 66/1 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Fine Gael

Age: 59

Notable policies: A former MEP, Mitchell once wrote that he was in favour of integration between the EU members rather than aiming to distinguish between every nation.

His party launched an €11 billion stimulus plan in 2010 which proposed setting up a holding company to allow the country to borrow from the European Investment Bank.

Dana Rosemary Scallon

Odds of winning: 300/1 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Independent

Age: 60

Notable policies: She's a strong proponent of Christian values and has vowed to fight inequality. However, she is better known in the country as the winner of the 1970 Eurovision song contest when she was just known as Dana.

She finished third in the 1997 presidential elections.

David Norris

Odds of winning: 33/1 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Independent

Age: 67

Notable policies: Ireland's first openly gay presidential candidate has focused his campaign largely around human rights. However, his nomination has been dogged by controversy when it was revealed that he pleaded for clemency for a former partner who had raped a 15-year-old boy.

Norris exited the race for the presidency over the issue before reinstating himself as a candidate. His popularity is believed to have taken a blow.

Mary Davis

Odds of winning: 300/1 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Independent

Age: 57

Notable policies: Having bought the Special Olympics to Ireland in 2003 Davis' platform involves challenging the stigma surrounding mental health. She is also keen to branch out and embrace the international community.

In particular, she wants to restore the country's reputation abroad.

Sean Gallagher

Odds of winning: 7/2 (via Paddy Power)

Party: Independent

Age: 49

Notable policies: The television personality and entrepreneur wants to reboot Ireland's international reputation so that it becomes an attractive location for international businesses.

His main goal is to rebuild confidence, both domestically and abroad, in the country.

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