Week’s events; Local, European and Bye-election canvassing

23rd May, 2014

Monday of this week began with an interview with Sean O’Rourke on Radio 1 and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin to discuss the series of election polls that were carried in the weekend newspapers.


As people prepared to go to the polls on Friday to vote in the local and European elections, things were hotting up as candidates readied themselves for the week ahead of non-stop canvassing and media debates that would ensue.


A lot of my week was spent pounding the pavement, looking for support for Fine Gael with our Dublin Euro candidate, Brian Hayes, whose campaign I have been Director of Elections for and our four local election candidates contesting the local elections in the Cabra/Finglas and North Inner City wards.  Time not on the canvass was spent in my office keeping on top of my ministerial work.


On Monday evening, Brian took part in a two hour debate on Tonight with Vincent Browne with the other Dublin candidates, where he set out his stall and the reasons why people should vote to send him to the European Parliament. I accompanied him out to Ballymount to the TV3 studio, where I have been myself many times before!


On Tuesday, I headed to Westmeath to support Gabrielle McFadden, who is running for fine Gael in the Longford/Westmeath bye-election that was caused by the sad passing of her sister, and my friend and colleague, Nicky. There is a lot of support on the ground for Gab who has run a terrific campaign over the last number of weeks.


It was then back to Dublin to attend the opening of the new Whitty Building in the Mater Hospital with the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD. While there I visited the Spinal Injuries Unit and the Intensive Care Unit in this fantastic, and excellently designed, building. Tuesday was the official opening of the building which has been in operation for some months and which is making a real difference to the staff and the patients being treated at the Mater.


Tuesday evening was spent in Phibsborough with one of our local election candidates, Jimmy Prendergast, who has been active in community work for years.


Wednesday morning began with a trip out to Newstalk to take part in their weekly political panel debate. Then, it was into my own office for a number of meetings across the morning. The afternoon brought me to Dublin West to meet Senator Eamonn Coghlan who is contesting the bye-election the for Fine Gael, which caused by the resignation of Independent TD, Patrick Nulty. It was a fantastic day and never have I seen a man so warmly welcomed by the people he met on the campaign trail, as Eamonn was. It will be a tough fight out in Dublin West but Eamonn has been putting the work in locally, as well as on a national level with proposals for healthy eating initiatives for children for a number of years now.


Wednesday had me in East Wall with another of our local election candidates, Patrick Martin. Patrick is standing for the Council for the first time. Originally from Sheriff Street, then leinster Avenue in North Strand and now living in Clonliffe Avenue, he is a true local.


On Thursday, I was out with David Rouse at Ashtown Train Station and Brian Hayes TD in the earlier part of the day and with sitting councillor, Ray McAdam, who is running in the North Inner City ward, a bit later on. Ray lives in Stonybatter and has been active in pursuing the elimination of substandard privately rented accommodation and issues surrounding community policing and drug use in the inner city.


I wish all of the candidates who are putting themselves forward for public office the best of luck on polling day.