04 June, 2009

Thoughts from the hustings in Dún Laoghaire

Finally, It's Election Day.

That's one of my favourite pics from the Campaign - Cllr. Ruairí Holohan buying 5c lemonade from some sharp business women in Carysfort Park in Blackrock, just a stone's throw from the Smurfit Business School. It was real lemonade, complete with pips.

That was the day it hit 25 degrees in the shade, and was much appreciated.
Over a drink in Tonic on Temple Road later on that evening I tried to persuade Ruairí not to climb the old diving platform at Blackrock Baths to put a poster on the top, but I sensed I wouldn't win the argument.

Here I am in the back of Cllr. Tom Kivlehan's van on Corbawn lane in Shankill. It was like an oven in there yesterday, and you couldn't see a thing, as you tried to hold on through the mini-roundabouts.

Tom can eventually win over almost anyone at the doors:
-"Look, it's between Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and myself for the last seat. You need a green voice on the Council."

Unfortunately, by the time he's done this, the rest of us have the entire road completed, but tenacity is vital part of any councillors' work. Tom's brother-in-law is a printer and that gave us a very nice turn-around for last minute leaflets last Wednesday.

That last pic is of Cllr. Gene Feighery and some of her crew at around nine o'clock last night in Dalkey. Our smile's are a bit Queen Motherish, but that's got to be expected in the last hour of a campaign. Gene's husband Aidan used his management skills to arrange for a 12,000 print run of "Why Me?" newsletters to be distributed around her ward yesterday morning and I'm sure they'll swing a few wavering voters.

Clearly under the influence of Tom, I had a long wonderful conversation at a door in Dalkey last night. An elderly women - Eithne Doog had memories of my grandmother, which was quite extraordinary, as she would have died around 1963, the year I was born.

We ended up in Finnegans Pub in Dalkey afterwards for refreshment.That's where the fun started. Trevor Patton (The Patton Flyer candidate) and his crew appeared to have lost their way while canvassing pubs from early on that evening, and were in fine form. "Fight for your flights" is his slogan, not the most compatible with the Green Party's founding principles, but he was buying and we didn't complain. His other tag line is equally compelling: "If you can't beat them, join them, ... then beat them."

His mates were taking bets on how many votes he'd get. I put €5 on Trevor getting 273 votes, so we'll see how that pans out. If Patton is elected it'll be the first time on the face of it that a bus has won an election, but stranger things have happened in Irish politics. I like the way his flyers (Patton Flyer, boom, boom) have the timetable printed on one side. He reckons he's got about €50,000 worth of free advertising from his campaign. Hmmm. Several photos were taken as the night wore on, but hopefully none of them will see the light of day. All of his crowd had the whole cauliflower rosettes thing going on with red and green colours and goldy writing "Vote Trevor" which was a bit confusing towards the end of the evening. I summed it up as being a curious mix of Mayo meets the Tories in the Shires circa 1972, but I liked his style.

Today's relatively quiet. A few phone calls, a clatter of emails, and hopefully a trip to the movies this evening.

Good luck to all our candidates out there, I wish you well.


Anonymous said...

Well Ciaran, whither the Greens?

As a pre-coalition Green voter I think you're damned if you go and you're double-damned if you don't.

By which I mean that forcing a general election because of the outcome of the local and European elections will be perceived to be the honorable thing to do, rather than hanging on and hoping FF (and Brian Cowan) can hold out until 2012.

Which party needs the breathing space more, the GP or FF? I think FF needs the space more. I think the GP would in a far better position to campaign (after forcing a general election) than FF, who now have leadership issues to address as well as their own melt-down in the urban centres.

Think about it constituency by constituency, especially in Dublin. Is Harney going to stand again? Tom Kitt is going. The Ahern ward is decimated, and so on.

The question is do the sitting Green TDs and Ministers have the appetite and the fight for it?

gabbagabbahey said...

well, Tom got it wrong on the door as neither FF, SF nor unfortunately he got in for Ballybrack!

I was impressed by his brief appearance on Q&A, and his support for the party, even if the government line on the banks he reiterated isn't the strongest political point.

as someone who voted Green this election and last, I'd just like to say I hope your party goes on from here, and that you and your members make a sound decision on any future coalition agreement.