Never Mind The Ballots: Fine Gael up early in the morning; Richard Boyd Barrett's celeb supporter

Getting hacks out of their beds at 4am to cover a Fine Gael campaign event at Dublin Port will never win you favours among the media.

Never Mind The Ballots: Fine Gael up early in the morning; Richard Boyd Barrett's celeb supporter

TAKEAWAY 1

Getting hacks out of their beds at 4am to cover a Fine Gael campaign event at Dublin Port will never win you favours among the media. Government ministers decided the 5.30am photo-op to mark Brexit day would make an impact. It did, on any empathy among reporters for the incumbents.

Virgin Media's Richard Chambers summed up a bus journey in the dark as yawning ministers, photographers and journalists made their way in high-vis to the port.

It was like a “craic-free Nitelink”. Except there was a man giving a "narration on the bus so it was more like a"very early morning viking splash tour than a nightlink," tweeted Chambers.

Such fun. Sounds like the hacks were glad to exit the FG event.

TAKEAWAY 2

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness was at the Taoiseach’s side all morning, perhaps understandably given the Brexit day that was in it.

Ms McGuinness took the opportunity to explain her admonishment of Nigel Farage and troops for their bombastic triumphalism over Brexit in the EU parliament on Thursday.

“Put your flags away, you’re leaving,” she had said to Mr Farage as the airs of Auld Lang Syne broke out around the building.

“We have a rule that no flags are to be shown except the big ones behind the podium, the President insists upon that and I am under orders. It was my job to stop the circus.”

TAKEAWAY 3

Much confusion still abounds over whether or not the nation will finally get a three-way leaders’ debate. RTÉ and Virgin Media have come in for a deal of criticism for excluding Mary Lou McDonald from their own head-to-heads given Sinn Féin’s buoyant performance in the polls. Today FM sought to salve the wound by providing a debate opportunity of its own.

Unfortunately, first Leo Varadkar ruled himself out of the debate while Fianna Fáil accepted, after a deal of hesitation. Then FF's Dara Calleary released a statement expressing his disappointment at the fact Sinn Féin has also declined to participate. The only problem? Sinn Féin denied doing so.

“The truth is that Mary Lou was the first to indicate her willingness to do this debate subject to the logistics being agreed,” said a less than happy Pearse Doherty in a statement.

WELL SAID

Many of those of a British or unionist identity are now considering the merits of reunification. Not to become Republicans, but to remain European.

- Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald on a United Ireland

GOOD DAY

It was a good day for Solidarity-PBP Richard Boyd Barrett who got support from singer Christy Moore.

In a video, Moore said that “Richard works hard to defend the rights of those most marginalisd in society” and that he worked tirelessly for his voters. “We need such eyes and ears in the Dáil chambers,” added the legendary Irish folk singer.

BAD DAY

It wasn’t a great day for Micheál Martin who maintains his party will not be joining in coalition with Sinn Féin. However, the number of his TDs who have now discreetly made noises towards a joining of forces is expanding, with representative for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon the latest to add his name to the list, in a conversation with western radio station Ocean FM.

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