#Aras11: McGuinness versus Mitchell on Newstalk

This debate on the Dunphy Show this morning is well worth listening to for two reasons.

One, given Mr Dunphy has said he will be voting for Martin McGuinness, we can be fairly sure the Derry man was given a fair crack of the whip.

And two, it’s the first time on this campaign I’ve heard Gay Mitchell (a Queens graduate) put through his paces.

Those of you who have already heard it will no doubt have your views immediately to hand. For those who haven’t, it’s well worth a listen. Let us hear what you made of it?

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  • sortofneutral

    Did not like the way Mitchell shouted down McGuinness and accused MMG of not answering the questions when he did not given him any room to reply! Then Mitchell accused Dunphy of bias (I did not notice any. Dunphy was just trying to get Mitchell to stop shouting).

    Later Mitchell contradicted himself as to whether Ireland is at the cusp of a recovery.

    Not impressed with Mitchell. At all.

  • Tweedybird

    I think Gay spoke very well; he had some good valid points to put across, furthermore,. why should these questions not be asked about Martin’s murky past. Personally i think Martin has a hidden agenda for standing as a presidential candidate, at times I think he forgets its the ROI he’ll be representing as President.

  • Mark McGregor

    I listened and watched the live studio feed. Best moment of it was when Dunphy noted substantial negative online reaction to one of Paul Kehoe’s (Government Chief Whip don’t you know) tweets during the broadcast;

    “Why would you need your salary when you have the proceeds of the northern bank at your disposal.”

    Gay immediately put his head in his hands.

    Regardless of how that tweet will now be spun the candidate’s instant physical reaction said it all (seems he may have forgotten even though it was radio the studio has eyes).

  • Mark McGregor

    Similarly when Dunphy raised Hogan’s attack on McGuinness as a risk to FDI and McGuinness rebutted with a sizeable list of US CEOs he had met with Robinson and business he claimed to have attracted to the north – Gay was left rejecting personal attacks on candidates.

    Seems Ministerial colleagues and Mitchell aren’t on the same briefing page when it comes to dealing with the shinner.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Have Giles or Brady endorsed yet?

  • Nunoftheabove


    Did you feel that Dunphy was materially imbalanced or was Mitchell over-egging the ‘poor-me’ bit ? GM lost the run of himself a bit before the break when it was getting heated, if I recall accurately describing Dunphy as a disgrace.

  • sortofneutral

    Mitchell over-egging the ‘poor-me’ bit.

    He repeated (heard it at least twice on this show) his story about his father dying, he had quite a few siblings and his mum had to go to work at aged 49.

  • Nunoftheabove


    That was my impression also; Mitchell clearly went in with the intention to fall back on the referee-bashing if he didn’t get things the way he liked, whether from Dunphy or from McG, or found himself on the ropes generally. I believe he failed and made his point in an unduly crass and unbecoming manner and I’d strongly question his temperament as a result of this performance as well as his obvious self-pity. He was similarly unpolished on the Late Late Show, fluffing his leaden scripted lines and unable to show any sparkle or fluency when/if talking with anything approaching spontaneity.

    Dunphy should have corrected Mitchell on the Westminster salary point – which Mitchell was plain wrong about (a cheap and poorly researched point to make anyway) – but perhaps also pushed McG a bit more on the MP’s expenses piece on the same issue, not least as I seem to recall Mitchell admitting that he took home c. 94k last year and ‘about the same’ in expenses (it might have been on another show that he shared that). Mark’s point about Mitchell’s reaction to the Tweet which came in adds a good deal of colour as he just about passed himself verbally on that in a manner – fumbling slightly – which did not as a listener to me suggest he was that perturbed about it when he clearly was.

    I’d like to know what was said at the break, during which Dunphy or perhaps his producer must have had words and gotten them all to calm down a bit as it was markedly more civil/nuanced/boring in the latter part of the show. Do we know if either participant had any advisers or campaign managers on point to coach them ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I noticed that too.

    Dunphy backed down on the Kehoe question (to take the heat out of it) and then looped back to bring the same question back in again.

    I don’t think MItchell has the temperament to be a good candidate, though he ran rings around both Dunphy on several important constitutional questions.

    The question of it being a singular office for instance, and what Martin’s actual relationship to his party once in the Aras would be. Mitchell several times implied the office would be used as a chattel of the party’s unelected leadership.

  • Nunoftheabove


    I’ve noticed most of the candidates struggling to answer the “so what exactly would you do if elected?” question on account of them being stuck for much to say either because the role is limited and/or because they’re not sufficiently au fait with its limitations – in some cases I suspect both.

    As there is an element of truth in the sense that the role is limited, the electorate are as well looking to personalities rather than ‘policies’ as their best guide to who would be least embarrassing in the role (although in fairness more than some of us admit to voting in accordance with that even in conventional politics – after all, ultimately character is the only thing which a candidate has which they can’t change whether they want to or not, unlike policies). A few of them are struggling to land punches here either as they are uncomfortable speaking with genuine confidence about their own character, bone fides and (often irrelevant) track record without sounding either unpersuasively faux modest or uninvitingly boastful, neither of which convinces many within Irish culture, at least when it’s plainly inauthentic.

    What really strikes me about all of the candidates so far is how very far from rounded and truly polished any of them are but the lesser evil voting strategy will, as so often it does, prevail.