Candidate urges election boycott
Donegal poll now 'completely irrelevant'
AN Independent candidate who pulled out of the race for a seat in a by-election yesterday has urged the electorate to stay at home on polling day.
Hotelier Anne Sweeney (53), from Dunfanaghy, the last of the six candidates to declare her intention to run, dismissed the by-election as a farce following the events of the previous 24 hours.
"I think that running in the Donegal South West by-election is absolutely totally irrelevant.
"How can the Green Party and Brian Cowen preside over the worst Budget this country has ever experienced and then walk out the door?
"I'm calling on the 62,000 people in this constituency to boycott this by-election as a protest as to how our time, our money and our democratic rights are being completely railroaded," she said.
Ms Sweeney, who pointed out that she had run on a mandate for change, added that it was unfair to ask the electorate to come out twice.
"The whole thing is a farce," she said. The Donegal businesswoman, who founded the All Island party, a collective for independent thinkers, added that she would be contesting the next General Election. But the other Independent candidate, Thomas Pringle, insisted that the by-election was relevant to the local electorate.
"We have always known that this by-election was a run-in for a general election. It would have been better if Brian Cowen had the courage of his convictions and (dissolved) the Dail so people can have their say.
"There is a lot of disillusionment with the entire party system and we (Independents) are hoping to capitalise on that," he said.
The front-runner, Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty, who was campaigning with party leader, Gerry Adams yesterday, urged the electorate to come out and vote. "The race is far from over. Fianna Fail has a very well-oiled machine. It will be a race to the end," he said.
Fine Gael candidate Barry O'Neill said the Government should have left office to enable the Budget to be passed by the administration that will preside over the country for the next five years.
Meanwhile, Senator Brian O'Domhnaill (FF) admitted that the last 48 hours had "complicated matters" but urged the people to stand by him.