"I don't want to look at that woman, let alone talk to her"

Joan Burton getting a mixed reaction on the campaign trail

Gerry Adams, leaders debate, RTE, Joan Burton, GE16, three amaigos

Labour leader Joan Burton at the first general election 2016 TV and radio debate at TV3 | Image: Rollingnews.ie

Joan Burton and Arthur Spring both look confused. "No, no. That wasn't this government" they tell a retired Killarney man. 

"It was. I lost three pounds out of my pension. It was" he argues, as set in his view as only a Kerryman could be. 

That's the problem for Joan Burton and Enda Kenny, the people just don't believe that it was actually Fianna Fáil who caused the cuts. They just can't see how good this government have made it. 

Most people outside of Dublin seem unaware there was a recovery to keep going in the first place. 

The trip to Killarney comes after Joan Burton visited yet another school, setting the ground for Labour to do outstandingly in the 2024 election. 

After meeting the kid who wanted to be the first Limerick man in space in Dooradoyle, the Tánaiste chatted to some clued in 8 year olds in Tralee. One wasn't sure what he wanted to be when he grew up, but has just given up the hurling to focus on his footballing career. 

They start early in the Kingdom. 

Burton has been largely sheltered during the election campaign when the media are around. When people approach her with real issues she'll chat for a short time, but then directs them to other Labour staff to take their details and deal with it later. 

It's usually done with glances towards the dedicated crew of media who have been following her around. 'You don't want them to hear, we'll talk properly later'.

The same is true in Burton's own constituency of Dublin West. She's spending a lot of time on the doors, but without any media presence. 

The furtive glances we do get into Dublin West show very mixed views of the Tánaiste. 

After canvassing parents - outside yet another school - Joan Burton ran into two lollipop ladies. One grabs her firmly by the hand and asks for a photo. 

One of her advisers asks if the second lady wants to get in the photo as well. 

"I don't want to look at that woman, let alone talk to her" comes the curt reply.

She might be best to wait for the lights. 

Sterile campaign

We're more than two weeks into this campaign, and asking reporters for highlights from the Labour trail is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

'When the glass smashed in that shop in Clontarf' offers one. 'The time our mic stand went flying'. 'When she called Sharon Ni Bheolain 'Karen' says a third. 

There has been no defining, or even particularly memorable moment from this campaign so far. 

And with Labour languishing below 10% in the polls, they need a bang in the final week to have any chance of winning back some support. 

The two government parties have played it too safe so far.

If they're to re-capture the imagination of the electorate that swept them to a record majority in 2011, both parties need a big bang in the final week. 

Live from @ElectionNT