The first full week of general election campaigning is underway, with education and health on the agenda.

Fine Gael will be looking to get back on track after an opinion poll over the weekend had Fianna Fáil twelve points clear at the top.

Sinn Fein placed just a point behind them, and their focus today is on housing.

Elsewhere, the Social Democrats will address biodiversity and Labour will focus on ending inequality for women in the workplace.

The Fianna Fail leader is expected to visit Sligo today.

Micheál Martin will visit the offices of Deputy Marc MacSharry, and will make a number of stops in the town before heading to other areas of the county this afternoon

There are three Fianna Fail candidates contesting the election in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency. They are Marc MacSharry and Eamon Scanlon – both  sitting deputies, together with Shane Ellis

In other election news, Independent councillor in Ballina Mark Duffy has confirmed to Midwest News this morning that he will not be contesting the 4-seater constituency of Mayo on February 8th.

There had been some speculation locally that he may throw his hat into the ring.

In a statement this morning he says that for the rest of his term as councillor he will work to deliver for Ballina and North Mayo and tackle the neglect that the region has experienced over a number of generations. He will then decide on whether or not he wants to continue in politics into the future.




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