The Irish electorate will vote on Friday June 5th in the local and European elections. The local elections will select Town, City and County Councillors all over the Republic of Ireland for the next five years, and the European elections will select our twelve European MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) also for the next five years. There are two bye-elections in the Dublin Central and Dublin South Constituency which are hotly contested and promise to be an exciting battle between the main parties.
We are in the middle of a heatwave (Irish-style) with glorious sunshine and warm sunny weather that has put the recession and our dwindling paypackets off the headlines for the past week. The June Bank Holiday weekend just gone was one of the best for years we are in a slightly hesitant state of national euphoria, afraid to jinx it in case it all vanishes but enjoying the moment for however long or short it lasts.
Our street in the lovely sunshine - that's our house on the right with the dormer windows.
He has been a high profile mayor as there have been a number of local issues that made headlines locally and some nationally, particularly the fire in the abandoned Recycling plant near the town, in the next road from our street. It has a long history going back a number of years and has been an eyesore for the past few years since the owner declared bankruptcy and now it has burnt to the ground and is an asbestos-contaminated site. He has been struggling to have the issue dealt with since he took office, and it is a key platform of his campaign.
Jan with John Pratt the County Council Labour Candidate and Brian O'Shea, TD (Labour) - that's MP for those of you outside Ireland not familiar with the Irish acronym!) canvassing in the town recently
We were in Dublin a couple of weekends ago and he was on national radio on a Newstalk programme called Global Village which highlights immigrant issues, and had been looking at candidates from the immigrant community running in the local elections. He was on a panel with two Nigerian candidates from other parties who are contesting seats in the same constituency, which made for a lively debate, and another Labour candidate from Moldova running in Limerick. It was my first time in a Radio Station, and it was an interesting experience. Jan had been a number of times on Waterford Local Radio (WLRFM) on various issues and events.
So we are all keeping our fingers crossed for his success on Friday. It is a fascinating campaign nationally as there is vehement anti-government sentiment about and it is a good time to be in opposition. Labour would relish the challenge of a General Election and there is much speculation that the ruling Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition is on the brink of collapse. So you never know what might happen, if they do badly in these local and European elections they might have to call it a day.
People are incredibly angry at the mismanagement of the various crises and the pandering to the banks has sickened everyone, as they are being bailed out by the taxpayers at huge expense and with little accountability coming from the recipients who seem to see it as their due, that the little people should prop them up. Sadly the government's obsequiousness is reinforcing their arrogance and they are not being penalised for their reckless financial gambling and squandering on developers and over inflated land prices that were all a bubble that has burst with devastating consequences for us "little people".