Mark Devenport reports that the Irish government is not so tramelled by election protocol as its UK counterpart when it comes to taking sides in the local election race. But, he notes, in South Belfast, robust backing from Michael McDowell may not help Alisdair McDonnell win over the Sinn Fein votes he’ll need to come through the middle of an edgey contest between the UUP and the DUP. Gerry Adams argues that Ministerial backing is one step too far.
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