DUBLIN — When Mary Robinson asked the people of Ireland in her 1990 inaugural presidential speech to “come dance with me,” she hardly envisaged the post of president becoming an all-singin’, all-dancin’ one.
But the first presidential nomination for the Oct. 30 election is Rosemary Scallon, better known as pop singer Dana, winner of the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland. If elected, Dana has declared, she hopes to sing her way through her seven-year term.
Twenty-seven years ago she charmed millions with her song, “All Kinds of Everything,” but today her agenda is far narrower. Following her career as a singer, Dana became a TV chatshow host on a Christian cable channel. Now she’s running for the country’s top job on the moral majority ticket.
Inspiring gasps from established political parties, Dana was nominated on a never-before-used provision of the Constitution and bypassed party politics.
But there is now a fear among the parties that, far from being seen as a joke candidate, Dana is the “stalking horse” of the campaign and could have more appeal to a conservative electorate and those disenchanted by the other, politically aligned candidates.
Dana cannot be discounted. But in the unlikely event of her winning, the future scenario is of Robinson’s liberal agenda being rolled back.
Until voting day, then, Dana will be presenting herself to the Irish people in the words of her 1979 papal song, “Totus Tuus,” or “totally yours.”