'He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy" - the quip from Monty Python classic 'Life of Brian' could serve as a pithy critique of Leo Varadkar's inflated reputation as a vote winner following Fine Gael's lacklustre performance in the local elections.
Ignoring the existing quality of its councils, 20-something per cent of us went out on Friday and voted for Fine Gael. This was probably to be expected, but it's still disappointing. Realising that local elections are about our localities and their schools, potholes and bus corridors, we didn't treat these elections like they were a mini-referendum on the Government and how it's performing.
Voters who participate in local and European elections are aware that these contests differ in important ways from general elections. They do not choose the government and, unfettered by concerns about income tax rates and national policy, voters are often more experimental in their voting preferences.
A councillor who featured in an RTÉ exposé in which he was shown asking an undercover reporter for £10,000 in exchange for securing planning permission for wind farms, has been re-elected and told the broadcaster “go back in the swamp”.
Ballymun-Finglas councillor Noeleen Reilly, who left Sinn Féin last year amid allegations of “physical assaults, verbal abuse, total isolation, smear campaigns”, said she feared the decision would cost her her council seat.
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