Saturday 25 February 2017

A beginner's guide to losing votes out on the canvass

Shane Ross

MY KINGDOM FOR A FIRST PREFERENCE: The late Jackie Healy-Rae and his son Michael were exposed to a few novel experiences while canvassing in Kerry. Photo: Don MacMonagle
MY KINGDOM FOR A FIRST PREFERENCE: The late Jackie Healy-Rae and his son Michael were exposed to a few novel experiences while canvassing in Kerry. Photo: Don MacMonagle

We are about to suffer from a rare outbreak of democracy. Time to buy walking boots in the New Year sales. In about a month, it will be back to pounding the pavements. TDs are rumoured to have bought thick protective clothing, not to protect them from the weather, but to shield them from the mob.

Dail deputies are set to engage in the part of political life that should be the most fulfilling. Citizens hold hopefuls to account. Such contact is billed as the high point of the democratic process. In truth, it is the encounter most TDs dread, the short window of time when the electorate can exact its revenge. For four short weeks, the boot is on the punter's foot.

Citizens have been waiting in the long grass for five long years to ambush their TDs. Ministers have been sighted in State cars hovering at a safe distance. Ordinary backbenchers have ducked and dived, dreading the day of reckoning.

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