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Margaret Donnelly: How to lose votes and alienate rural supporters ahead of an election

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tries his hand at horse-drawn ploughing at the National Ploughing Championships with horses Jack and Jill.  Photo:  Gerry Mooney.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tries his hand at horse-drawn ploughing at the National Ploughing Championships with horses Jack and Jill. Photo: Gerry Mooney.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tries his hand at horse-drawn ploughing at the National Ploughing Championships with horses Jack and Jill. Photo: Gerry Mooney.

Imagine calling into the kitchen of one farm family who have only voted one way their entire lives and not bothering to even ask for their vote?

That's right, the assumption by one rural candidate, who'll remain nameless, but who recently made this visit is an indictment of the apathy too many politicians have shown towards rural dwellers.

This political candidate proceeded to launch into a speech about themselves and how great and wonderful they are. No concern was even feigned for the present voters, who raised some issues they'd had with the future of Irish agriculture and some local services.

Surely the empathy and compassion, or at least a promise of 'I'll fix it' would shine at this point?

No. Just silence from the candidate. No notebook out to log the issues and assure the voters that their party had a plan or that improved facilities were on the way if they're re-elected. Instead, the voters were subjected to a lecture on how important it is for the candidate to increase their vote.

It's a sorry fact but too many political parties and candidates are more concerned with their own political future than the future of their rural constituents.

However, what has me more disappointed is political parties' giant manifestos which are packed high with soundbites but severely short on detail when it comes to farming in particular. There has been much criticism in the past of parish pump politics, but with national plans so lacking in vision and leadership what else are people left with?

Powerhouse

For the powerhouse that farming is considered by some in political circles, it's surprising and disappointing the lack detail in their policies in face of the obvious problems facing farmers and the lack of regard at ground level that some candidates and their parties have for the voters.

There's a feeling in rural Ireland that while they've been lauded as the backbone of the economy, when things get tough, there's no real love shown to those living and trying to work in rural Ireland.

No party has set out a strong vision for farming and rural Ireland that would inspire anyone and it's more than likely many will vote for the person rather than the party on Saturday.

Who'd blame them?

Indo Farming