Sixty hours until the polls open, more or less, and only mad dogs and candidates are braving the midday sun.
It's hot on the Dún Laoghaire Riviera, damn hot. Factor 50 all round this week, short-sleeved shirts, and 24 degrees in the shade. I'm avoiding the baseball cap though, as William Hague and George W. aren't exactly role models.
Broken windows, homelessness, dog dirt, selective mutism, the 45 bus. You see, and hear it all. One of the real challenges of politics is being able to absorb the extremes of views that you experience from one doorway to the next. Someone who works for Anglo-Irish tells me that he's taken to describing himself as a civil servant when people asks him what he does. Another is worried about noise from a partying neighbour.
These pix are from a few weeks ago when we had a whistle-stop tour with John Gormley and Deirdre de Burca through the Dún Laoghaire Dáil constituency. That's Cllr. Ruairí Holohan in the top photo, along with John Gormley walking on water in the middle of Dublin Bay. Deirdre de Burca, our candidate for Dublin is in the background. Karin Dubsky from Coastwatch Ireland had invited John out to Booterstown Strand to celebrate Biodiversity Day, and watch oyster spat being released.
John took a lift in Ruairí's electric Reva car to Blackrock where we chatted away to people on the Main Street before hopping on a DART to Dún Laoghaire to catch up with Cllr. Gene Feighery . We walked along Georges Street to Sandycove Glasthule, where I think we canvassed an unfortunate woman three times on the stretch of road between the Shopping Centre and the People Park. We kept passing her out and then dropping back. The good news was she started off promising us a number 3, and we got her to a number one on the basis that we'd stop tormenting her and get back on the DART, which is what we eventually did.
In Shankill we walked down to the end of Corbawn Lane to have a look at coastal erosion. The railway has had to be moved back twice in the course of the twentieth century to avoid being washed away, and yet there are still some councillors who want to rezone lands by the water's edge. Dubious rezonings have plagued Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over the years. I was glad to see that Cllr. Tony Fox was refused a nomination from Fianna Fáil. Apparently he received money from Frank Dunlop, but I was saddened to see that he's put his name forward as an independent candidate. In Shankill our candidate is Cllr. Tom Kivlehan (pictured to my left). Tom has stood up to those who wish to rezone the lands beside Clontra House, on the water's edge.We had a mellow couple of hours listening to people's concerns as people came and went from the local Spar. The Ryan Report had just come out, and people were absorbing the horror that it documents. Perhaps some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission is needed to fully address the contents of the Report.
Finally a couple of recommendations: Claire Wheeler is running for the Greens in Dublin's South Inner City ward, and has a long track record in providing for communities. She's an engineer by background, and called for a clean and sparkling Dublin Bay long before many others supported the cause. I'd say give your second preference to Mannix Flynn, not for his awesome poster, but for his wealth of experience, as well as his artistic and literary integrity.
In the North Inner City, David Geary is our candidate. Dave lives in Stonybatter, and works in wind energy. I'm hoping people will give their second preference to Patrick Maphoso, who I almost persuaded to run for the Greens five years ago. It's not that often that you can someone with a strong track record with the ANC a vote!