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It was therefore all the more remarkable that both managed to beat quite popular establishment candidates to win the Presidency.
Mary Robinson - then an independent retired from politics -gained the support of the Labour Party and the Workers Party - an offshoot from Sinn Fein. She beat the Fianna Fail governing party candidate, Deputy prime minister Brian Lenihan, by 52-46% of the final vote. The campaign was marked by a controversial attack on Robinson by Fianna Fail Minister Pádraig Flynn as not being much of "a wife and mother" and "having a new-found interest in her family" - a reference to her public career profile in the context of a culture where many still thought that "a women's place is in the home". Flynn, even more controversially, also joked privately that Robinson would "turn the Áras [Presidential residence] into the Red Cow Inn [a popular hostelry]" - a reference to her socialist and feminist background.
Mary McAleese had stood, unsuccessfully, as a Fianna Fáil candidate in the Dublin South-East constituency at the 1987 general election, receiving only 2,243 votes (5.9%). Remarkably, she managed to gain the Fianna Fail nomination for the Presidency despite that position being contested by Albert Reynolds and Michael O'Kennedy. Reynolds was a former Taoiseach while O'Kennedy was a former cabinet minister having served in the very important Finance and Foreign Affairs portfolios. Both were also sitting members of Parliament, Teachtaí Dála (TDs). Fianna Fail, a conservative establishment party, may have felt the need to select a more liberal outsider to broaden the party's appeal and base. Her profile as a campaigning feminist, popular broadcaster, respected academic, and northern nationalist fitted this need perfectly.
The degree to which the very popular Robinson presidency had changed Irish political culture can be gauged from the fact that there were 5 candidates in that election, four of which were women, and the only male candidate came last. Some change from the previous election where Robinson had been the first ever female candidate for the office.
Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 13 33 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 10 29 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 7 25 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 5 24 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 24 19 comments
by gmoke - Jun 3 2 comments
by Oui - Jun 3 13 comments
by IdiotSavant - May 29
by Oui - Jun 161 comment
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 1333 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 1029 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 725 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 524 comments
by Oui - Jun 313 comments
by gmoke - Jun 32 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 295 comments
by IdiotSavant - May 29
by Frank Schnittger - May 2724 comments
by Oui - May 271 comment
by Frank Schnittger - May 2512 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 2419 comments
by Oui - May 2339 comments
by Oui - May 2312 comments
by melo - May 239 comments
by ATinNM - May 2210 comments
by gmoke - May 17
by Frank Schnittger - May 1768 comments
by Oui - May 1542 comments