Belfast Telegraph

Candidates 'no match for the Marys'

Wielding a meat cleaver in an inner city butcher's, an exasperated John Dunne looked forlornly at tattered and defaced election posters cluttering the streets.

"They're not going to be able to keep the doors of our business open," the life-long butcher warned as he pointed outside.

A permanent fixture in Dublin's Liberties for several generations, an unimpressed Mr Dunne and brother Simon cut through the record seven presidential candidates.

"I've no intention of voting. I don't think any one of them deserves my vote. They live the high life and travel the world having their photos taken and shaking people's hands. How essential is that?" Simon warned.

Neither man, in their 30s and 40s, will vote, despite it being the first presidential election in 14 years.

The last two decades are a hard act to follow - trained lawyers Mary Robinson from 1990-97 and then Mary McAleese revolutionising and modernising the role.

Simon Dunne said none of the candidates in the running were as good as their predecessors - particularly the two women running, who could not live up to the legacies left by "The Marys".

As he weighed a half pound of grapes, Liberties greengrocer Jack Roache said this was the first time in his 67 years that he found himself stumped.

"Let's just say for a presidential race, this has been very unpresidential," he said. "But I know who I'm voting for. And I'll use all my votes too. If there were 100 running, I'd do the same."

The strong-willed protesters outside the Central Bank from Occupy Dame Street - a sit-in which followed the Occupy Wall Street ideals - were even less complimentary. The demonstrators refused to give their names with one dismissing the presidency as "nothing but a symbolic, money-wasting" role.

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