Writer and Author

Democracy in Action?

Today’s the day of the local and European elections, in Dublin there are two by elections as well.  It’s a day that Fianna Fail probably have reason to be very worried about…public opinion, according to the numerous polls that have appeared in the papers over the run of the campaigning, is decidedly against them.

Now at this point I should probably come clean.  I’m not a fan of Fianna Fail.  Anyone who’s read this blog on a fairly regular basis could probably have guessed that but in the interests of full disclosure there it is.  I would most definitely not be sorry to see them hurting come Monday morning even if our esteemed Taoiseach seems to be in deep denial about what a convincing arse whipping in these elections would mean to the credibility of his leadership.  But this post isn’t about party bashing.

I’ve been giving out on Twitter over the past few weeks about the constant knocks on the door from the various party candidates.  I know it’s an essential part of electioneering but once you’ve met them all once it wears a bit thin.  I’ve got particularly aerated about the failure of certain Fianna Fail reps to grasp that they are not going to convince me to vote for them under any circumstances.

But today is voting day.  The leaflets have been posted, the hands have been shaken and now it’s all done bar the counting.  I know that there’s still the matter of getting the voters out but one thing I like about going to vote is that once you near that voting station the desperate babble has to ease because the buggers aren’t allowed within 50 metres of the polling station.  It’s the first bit of quite we get after weeks of political chit chat on the doorstep and in my book, can’t come soon enough.

But obviously there are those who disagree with our need for a little peace and quiet to place our votes.  As the husband and I neared the voting station on Cowper St in the Dublin Central constituency this morning we were greeted by a barrage of Fianna Failers.  Tom Stafford and his minions had stationed themselves well within the safe zone, hidden round the corner so the garda standing outside the voting station wouldn’t call shenanigans.

Democracy in action

They slapped backs and pumped hands and leered over little old ladies in a forced amiability that seriously smacked of desperation.  Passers by noticed them encroaching on the polling station and muttered about Fianna Fail being a “dirty word” in these parts.  Another, clocking the distance asked “is this an example of Fianna Fail using the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit of democracy?”

Stafford insisted that he wasn’t illegally campaigning but merely talking to friends.  Well he had a point.  I often chat to my mates clutching bundles of hundreds of Fianna Fail election leaflets…

It was just another sign that, whatever their leader thinks, the rank and file of Fianna Fail are worried and rightfully so (I hope…)  We shall all just have to wait until the votes are counted to see what the country has decided.


  1. Mark

    Hah, they’re all at it. When I walked out of the voting station I saw my local FF desperado standing around seemingly “bumping into friends” within 10 yards of the polling station door. Luckily I had my rather inconspicuous camera in my bag. I went to pull the camera out but before I could even switch it on he had “lost” all his literature and his “friend” was briskly walking off with a very full pocket. His “Vote No1” sticker had also jumped from his chest to his palm and he was walking towards me, snarling.

    He walked passed and I followed him until he left the safe zone and got into his car. He somehow was traveling in the same car as the friend who he’d happened to have bumped into right outside the polling station – amazing.

    Ah, democracy – love it when a camera is scarier than a Garda.

    • Abigail

      The husband had a similar reaction when he took the shot included in this post (had difficulty getting WordPress to upload it so it might not have been there when you first read the post). It’s slightly disturbing to see the levels of desperation coming from the Fianna Fail camp this time round. Not very though, just slightly!

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