"We're here to build his self-confidence": Alan Kelly launches Tipperary campaign

Minister: "Nobody's perfect and I'm certainly not either"

Few observers would say Alan Kelly lacks in belief, but the 500 supporters who gathered to launch his campaign clapped understandingly as they were implored to "build his self-confidence".

The plea came from former Nenagh Mayor Sandra Farrell, who told the rapturous audience they were in for a long and hard 19 days until polling day. 

 

If the Minister was in need of a pick me-up he didn't show it as he bounded to the stage to the recently-resurfaced Alan Kelly Rap.

  

 

Perhaps cautious of sharp-eared journalists, the song's lyrics were carefully edited to take out any references to 'blunders made by the government', a line which could apply to the week faced by the man himself.

Kelly has faced constant criticism both from opponents and within his own party after a number of high-profile media exchanges. 

It might have all been too much for the Minister, who may have felt the need for divine intervention. Luckily for Team AK, the smiling face of Pope Francis was near, forming part in a 'best bits' slideshow of Alan's past five years and maybe it was the man in Rome's presence that allowed Kelly the time for some inward reflection.

"I'm not here to win a popularity contest"

"Nobody's perfect", Kelly said, "and I'm certainly not either". Was this a new Alan Kelly?

He thanked his family, including his wife Regina, who he described as "the real boss... after a lot of talk about bosses recently." 

As he turned towards the weeks ahead, Kelly galvanised the crowd with references to the "hurlers on the ditch" trying to unseat him locally.

"I'm not out here trying to win a popularity contest", he finished, "if I am, I'm certainly failing". 

As he stepped off stage, the big band was wheeled out for a dancehall classic - 'Que Sera, Sera'.

That sentiment will be the measure of the battle royale in Tipperary over the coming weeks. Like Kelly or loathe him, all eyes will be on the Premier County on February 27th where the scrap for his political future will be won or lost.