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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Broken promises making young people cynical about politics - FF's Kate Feeney

Lise Hand in Glenties

Published 24/07/2014 | 12:53

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Kate Feeney on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin.  Picture:  GERRY MOONEY.
Kate Feeney on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin. Picture: GERRY MOONEY.

Young people are fed up with political parties patronising the electorate and putting forward manifestos based more on poll findings than leadership, according to Fianna Fail councillor Kate Feeney.

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The newly-elected councillor in the Blackrock ward in Dublin was speaking at MacGill Summer School on the topic of political apathy in the younger generation of voters.

“Broken promises like these leave people twice shy about placing their faith in politics again. Who could blame them for being cynical when over the years all parties - including my own - have been guilty of this kind of conduct,” she said.

Ms Feeney said that while out on the campaign trail before the May elections, she received “more than a few lambastings about the actions and decisions of those who had gone before me,” adding, “this wasn’t an anti Fianna Fáil statement - although I still encountered plenty of those - but an anti-political parties statement. A plague on all our houses.”

Also taking part in the panel discussion was Independent councillor for Dublin’s North Inner City Gary Gannon who highlighted the various imbalances in the Dail. “Did anybody flinch, even an eye-lash, when the last cabinet re-shuffle unfolded a front bench of predominantly white, middle-class, conservative men?” he asked.

On the issue of apathy among voters, Gannon said: “If you want to address the cause of our apathy then maybe we can invest in public housing, affordable childcare, domestic violence services or recovery beds where people, who injected themselves with a poison in the hope of escaping the hell that was their everyday life, can find the assistance they need to become clean again.”

Social entrepreneur and founder of Raising and Giving Ireland (RAG) Daithi de Buitleir said, “Our political parties squabble amongst themselves with little focus other than ensuring self-survival. Our traditional political heavyweights have no guiding ideology or vision of what Ireland can become - other than embarrassing little soundbites such as ‘the best small country in the world in which to do business’”.

He added, “How else can you control a group of random people who end up together united by very little, except for a dislike and distrust of everyone who isn’t one of them?”

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