Election 2011 in the papers: 7 Feb - 14 Feb
'The electorate is exhausted – and there's weeks to go'. So declared the headline on Ann Marie Hourihane's typically entertaining column in the Irish Times on 7 February, as the second week of official campaigning began. By Angela Long
To help out, George Hook banned all political discussion from his radio show on Newstalk. But readers of the Irish Mirror and its ilk are not afflicted by the avalanche of political news - Saturday's Mirror boasted a mere one page of pre-election news, and punters had to get to page 16 to find that.
The not-so-great debate on TV3 attracted plenty of comment in the more serious newspapers – and, by the way, it was instructive how RTE steadfastly refused to give the time of the Gilmore-Martin clash that evening, even though the debate was news. All Lady Donnybrook would reveal on Tuesday was that the clash would take place 'tonight'. Compare that with the detailed time and place advertising for the five-seater debate, inappropriately enough, on Valentine's Day.
In the Irish Times on Wednesday, Miriam Lord's colour piece was headlined 'Son of a boxer lands blow on Gilmore'. Lord, and a number of other media commentators, found in favour of the new calm cool and cuddly image of Fianna Fáil as personified by Micheal Martin.
Fergus Finlay, chief executive of Barnardos, was quoted in the same paper as saying that the "preoccupation with bank failures is deeply worrying". Social justice issues are being put on the back burner – and it's a long way back – as the staggering national debt, repudiation, the bottomless pit of Anglo-Irish Bank, and the IMF deal continue to obsess editors and politicians alike.
One of the latter, Mayo's finest, hot-footed it over to Berlin on Monday for a few words with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Evening Herald was less than respectful with its headline, featuring inverted commas around the word 'statesman' to describe Enda Kenny. Reporter Kevin Doyle wrote that "The face-to-face talks have been dismissed as a glorified 'photo opportunity' by Fianna Fáil, but sources within Fine Gael say it is a 'significant coup' for Enda Kenny." Well, they would, wouldn't they?
In Cavan, the weekly Anglo-Celt newspaper led with the candidacy of Caroline Forde, a claims manager with Quinn Insurance, whose main platform plank is the retention of jobs with the troubled company.
An Phoblacht, the Republican journal, which fortunately also publishes in English, gave plenty of space to the thoughts of Limerick City councilor Maurice Quinlivan. Quinlivan attacked the alleged axis of Fianna Fáil and the Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), claiming that they had low-paid workers in their sights for further cuts after the election. Quinlivan was pictured on the canvass, with one of our friends in the north, Martin McGuinness MLA.
Other unavoidable financial news was the boosting of interest rates on mortgages – it's all part of the circle of death that has been visited upon us.
Someone who is generally accustomed to cheerful financial figures, Dermot Desmond, waded into the political reform fray up to his neck on Saturday, with publication of an 11,000 word document proposing changes in Ireland's political structures. The Irish Times ran a front-page story as well as an Opinion page piece, and the text of Desmond's manifesto, which includes a radical revision of electorates so they are no longer geographical, was available on the website. The full text can be viewed here.
Away from the papers, one of the more joyous moments in media political consumption during the week was Mario Rosenstock's production of Vincent Browne meets Joan Burton, on Tonight with Vincent Browne late Thursday. Give us the look, Mario.