McGuinness third in polls

Rev. David Latimer welcomes Irish presidential candidate Martin McGuinness as he arrives at Free Derry Corner last night to officially launch his campaign. 3009JM63 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)
Rev. David Latimer welcomes Irish presidential candidate Martin McGuinness as he arrives at Free Derry Corner last night to officially launch his campaign. 3009JM63 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)
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Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness still continues to dominate the headlines in the race for Áras an Uachtárain.

The Sinn Féin leader finished third in two opinion polls to be carried out this week among prospective voters.

Labour candidate, Michael D Higgins came out on top of the Ispos MRBI poll, which was carried out by the Irish Times, with 23 per cent support. The poll was carried about among 1,000 voters in every constituency in the 26 counties.

Independent candidate and entrepreneur, Séan Gallagher, was the second most popular candidate on 20 per cent, with Mr McGuinness a close third on 19 per cent.

Mary Davis received 12 per cent, while controversial senator and former favourite, David Norris, received eleven per cent, 14 per cent down on a previous Ispos MRBI poll carried out in July. Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchel polled nine per cent, down twelve per cent on the previous poll, while former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon finished bottom of the poll on six per cent.

The poll also showed that much of Mr McGuinness’s support came from young people and from working class communities.

Mr McGuinness also finished third in an opinion poll carried out by Red C for bookmaker, Paddy Power. The Labour candidate also topped this poll, receiving 25 per cent, with Mr Gallagher finishing second on 21 per cent, five per cent ahead of Mr McGuinness on 16 per cent.

Senator Norris received 14 per cent while Fine Gael candidate, Gay Mitchel, polled ten per cent. Mary Davis and Dana received nine and ten per cent respectively.

The poll was carried out by means of 1,000 interviews conducted between October 3rd-5th.

Financial matters also played a key role in campaigning this week as Mr McGuinness published a bank statement to prove his assertion that he receives the average industrial wage for his duties at Stormont.

A letter from Sean Hegarty, commercial bank manager at the Bank of Ireland branch at Strand Road, Derry confirmed that Mr McGuinness is paid £1,605 a month from Sinn Féin. “Other than very occasional expense refunds, this appears to be the only funds received into this account on a regular basis,” the letter from Mr Hegarty stated.

Mr McGuinness’ bank statement also reveal details of shopping trips to Asda, B&M Bargains, and Tesco.

He made the move to publish the information after other candidates disputed his claim to receive the average industrial wage rather than the £112,000 salary as Deputy First Minister.

The statement shows that Mr McGuinness’ salary from Sinn Féin works out at £19,260 per annum, or £370 per week.

Mr McGuinness gives the bulk of his salary to Sinn Féin who use the money for party purposes.

He has also said that if he is elected as president he will not take the 249,014 euro salary and will continue to draw the average industrial wage.

Speaking in Derry last week, Mr McGuinness said the remainder of the presidential salary could be used to create jobs for six long-term unemployed young people.

Meanwhile, Mr McGuinness’ campaign team have embarked on a major fund raising drive across the country.

Advertisements (see below) have been taken out in local and national newspapers asking people to donate to the campaign to have the Sinn Féin leader elected to Áras an Uachtárain.

The advertisement states; “Your generosity can change this country, can build a New Republic that belongs to no political party or special interest but is the shared property of us all.”