Mitchell has 'fullest support' of Fine Gael

Wednesday 19 October 2011 09.52
Alan Shatter insisted Gay Mitchell is a "fantastic candidate"
Alan Shatter insisted Gay Mitchell is a "fantastic candidate"

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said Fine Gael's Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell has the "fullest support" of himself, Cabinet colleagues and the Fine Gael party.

Speaking on This Week, Minister Shatter said Mr Mitchell ''has the full support of Fine Gael".

He said Mr Mitchell was a "serious person, whose extensive experience would provide, I believe as President, very critical support to the government's focus on restoring our international reputation, but also tackling the jobs crisis."

Minister Shatter added that he believed that Mr Mitchell is a ''fantastic candidate'' and ''an individual of enormous integrity''.

Gay Mitchell said when the party gets out on the doorsteps and gets the Fine Gael vote out, the polls will come right and he believes he will win the election.

Speaking on This Week, he said: "If we choose celebrity over substance we're making a very serious mistake".

Mr Mitchell said: "This is a time to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our country.

"We are on the cusp of massive recovery if we do the right things and take the right direction, and stop playing petty party politics".

Mr Mitchell said he wanted to ensure children from Buncrana to Dublin did not become "the skype generation" and were able to find work at home, saying "there is no point sipping champagne in the Phoenix Park reading poetry" while this work needs to be done.

He said the party organisation was fully behind him, and defeated nominees Mairead McGuinness and Pat Cox had either canvassed with him or been in contact about helping with his campaign.

He said the "polls are volatile" but firmly believed his campaign would see him top the poll on election night.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was also on the programme and was questioned about the issue of the US citizenship she was granted in 1999.

Ms Scallon said she would have “no problem” giving up her US citizenship, if that was the wish of the Irish people.

The former MEP said taking dual citizenship “in no way impacted on her Irish citizenship”.

She said her experience as a dual citizen would help her highlight the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US, who are not even able to return to this country for occasions such as family bereavements.

Speaking earlier on the Marian Finucane Show, Susan Stein, who is Dana’s sister, said she was ''amazed'' by the amount of media coverage the issue has received.