19 May, 2009

Ups and downs on the campaign trail

"Hey Mister"
-"Just a second"
I'm at the top of a ladder, half-way up a pole trying to feed one plastic poster-tie into another on Deirdre de Burca's poster. Finally it catches and I pull it tight.
-"I'll be with you in a second!"
I thread the plastic tie through the lower part of the poster. Once you've locked the poster-tie in, it can resist gale force winds, if done correctly. I clamp the end of plastic tie between my teeth and pull hard. Not exactly ideal from a health and safety perspective, but it does the job. Finally, I finish securing the poster, and climb down the ladder.
-"Mister, your poster is upside-down.
I walk back to the car, and take out a kitchen knife reserved for these occasions. It's started to rain again, the kind of rain we've had for the last two weeks - first one or two drops, then a downpour. Back up the ladder, knife in my mouth doing a fair impersonation of Captain Jack Sparrow getting ready to repel boarders. I'm at the top of the ladder, and spend a few minutes trying to ease the poster ties apart with the tip of the knife so that I can re-use the ties. Eventually I give up and attempt to sever the tie to release the poster. As I cut through the plastic there's a loud bang and a bright yellow flash. The knife falls and I slide down the ladder faster than a sailor in one of those World War Two films just after the torpedo hits the ship. Unlike our candidate Martin Hogan a few weeks ago, I'm still in one piece. I look back up the lamp post and as I do there's another flash and a puff of smoke from the electrical junction box half-way up the pole.
"Hey Mister"
"That's deadly, it is, can you do it again?"
It's time to move on, and find a safer lamppost for Deirdre de Burca's poster.


That photo shows Cllr. Gene Feighery and Cllr. Ruairí Holohan on the stump on the Blackrock Bypass last Friday. They're giving out Hazel tree nuts and saplings as part of Ruairí's 'Brown Envelope' campaign. It's brought a smile to people's faces, and is the kind of soft sell that works well as part of wider campaign.
Ruairí also has a good pitch at the doors:

"Look, I'm not going to talk about the recession, I can talk to you about Home Energy Grants, or the Gardening course that we're running in Blackrock.

It seems to be working well, by all accounts. He also told our monthly Green Party meeting in Dún Laoghaire that he's been dropping apple pies in to every convent in his ward with 'Green Party' written on the plate, and then drops by to collect the plate a few days later, and tries to persuade them to use their land for allotments.

Cllr. Gene Feighery, represents Dún Laoghaire, and has been pointing out that the Greens are good on planning. Gene was a founder member of CRSOS (the Combined Residents to Save Open Space) an NGO that campaigned to prevent the rezoning of the Dún Laoghaire Golf Club lands. It may well be that this green lung within Dún Laoghaire won't be developed in the short term, but it is important that a Local Area Plan is drawn up to guide development in the town. She's often seen in her electric car around the town.

Tom Kivlehan
is our councillor for Shankill and Ballybrack. He dragged me up to Sandyford Luas stop a few weeks ago to take a photo beside a Luas so that we could photoshop 'Sandyford' out of the sign and substitute 'Shankill'. When the Luas gets to Cherrywood early next year, Tom will be clearing the scrub off the old Harcourt Street line to make sure it gets to Shankill and Bray a few years later. On a more practical note, he succeeded in getting the Council to shift their electricity supply to a renewable supplier.


It may be a European and Local Election, but it is clear that many are thinking about national issues as they consider how to cast their vote in two weeks time. Few people disagree that John Gormley and Eamon Ryan are doing good work in their respective ministries. Tough decisions are being taken to ensure Ireland weathers the worldwide economic storm. Already it seems clear that the recovery is green. New jobs are being created in energy, in construction, in transport and in agriculture. Many of these are in areas of the sustainability sector that didn't exist a few years ago, or have a green hue to their complexion. One thing is sure though, the economy that was too dependent on laissez-faire construction and SUV car sales has changed, and the new green collar jobs will shape Ireland's future.


Thanks to all you new media people for dropping in to the Oireachtas last week. My relatively tidy office that some of you saw last week has again disintegrated into squalor. I think both John Gormley, Deirdre de Burca and Damian Connon enjoyed the opportunity to talk candidly about their work. Thanks Dharragh Boyle,
Mark Coughlan, Damian Mulley, Gav Reilly, Thaedydal and others for coming along. You all seem to have enjoyed your experience of the madness that constitutes the Houses of the Oireachtas.


dublinstreams said...

time to ban political activists from putting up posters, have council workers or private experienced and insured workers put up a set number

tomcosgrave said...

Putting posters up scares me silly - for the reason you describe happening, among other things.

They are also an eyesore.

Any chance of having the damn things banned, or at least placed on postering areas?

I wish your candidates good luck in the election. From what I get on the doors, the Greens will have a tough time.

The Galway Tent said...

Green-FF Desperate Untruths on Incinerator?

There are Local and European elections coming up in June 2009. Did the Green Party publish a truth behind a lie behind the untruth behind a mistake behind the spin?

On Sunday, May 17, 2009, the Green-FF's leafleted houses with the spin that the Poolbeg incinerator would "collapse" because Covanta could not get finance.

However on Monday, MAY 18, 2009, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Covanta was selling at least $300 million in 5-year cash-convertible notes to private entities for incinerator construction in Dublin.

The WSJ states:

"Covanta said proceeds from the offering, which will be private, could be used for items including plant construction in Dublin along with potential investments or acquisitions."

Green-FF omitted this Covanta statement from The Sunday Tribune of May 17, 2009:

A statement issued to The Sunday Business Post on behalf of Covanta Europe president Scott Whitney said the company was

‘‘in the final stages of pre-construction activity, the financing to construct the facility is available and we expect to commence construction when the remaining statutory approvals have been received’’.

And Green-FF also omitted this Dublin City Council statement from The Sunday Tribune:

Seamus Lyons, Dublin Assistant City Manager, who heads the council’s environmental and engineering department, said that Dublin City Council was ‘‘satisfied that Covanta has finance in place’’.


Stephen O'Shea said...

Hi Cian, Got to your poster campaign via Around the Blogs - Election Round UP. As the boys on AtB say, you write a fine and funny blog.

I did my own blog on To post(er) or not to post(er) last Sunday (my day for updating my social media strategy!). I'm a newbie to both politics, self-publicising and using these internet tools. I know your colleague Terence Corish here in Dundrum. Maybe after the campaign we can meet up and discuss how blogging supported our respective campaigns.
Best regards
Stephen O'Shea
Independent Candidate
Dundrum Local Elections

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't have posters on Blackrock baths. When the save the baths campaign was going, you did nothing about it, and didn't organise people around it. It is bad enough living with plastic litter up every lampost, but on one of the finest structures in the area too? It's a dishonest attempt to politically wash the local and national record of the greens.

Then again, what's to be expected of the party of Tara destruction, Rossport brutality, Medical Card Cutbacks, etc, etc. The PD's are alive and well, and plastered to the wall of the baths.

Ciarán said...

Maybe we shouldn't have put posters there, but we have done the work here:
1. We held a public meeting about the baths two years ago.
2. We ran a conference about Dublin Bay with 150 attendees
3. We got John Gormley to set up the Dublin Bay Task Force
4. We advised the County Manager not to allow apartments on the site
5. We proposed a Local Area Plan that would allow development on the surface car park, and amenities on the Blackrock Baths Site such as a seal sanctuary or outdoor swimming pool.
6. Tell me what you'd like to see happen on the Baths site