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Spare a thought for those who didn't get votes as they face up to public rejection

Patricia Casey


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Defeated: Shane Ross pictured with his wife Ruth Buchanan after he was eliminated in the Dublin Rathdown constituency at the 2020 General Election count in the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath

Defeated: Shane Ross pictured with his wife Ruth Buchanan after he was eliminated in the Dublin Rathdown constituency at the 2020 General Election count in the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath

Defeated: Shane Ross pictured with his wife Ruth Buchanan after he was eliminated in the Dublin Rathdown constituency at the 2020 General Election count in the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath

Politicians are human too. It's easy to forget that they are living, breathing beings with feelings, with aspirations and with loved ones. Yet caricatures abound especially when the country is in election mode.

It is all too easy to satirise and to target their worst attributes. The mud is slung even when they are known to us only from the occasional TV appearance. They are variously described as incompetent publicity seekers whose only goal is remaining in office long enough to qualify for a good pension. We see them as lacking 'the vision thing' if their policies differ from ours and we then categorise them into right or left, hard or soft. Nuance is not applied to our perception of politicians.

The low opinion in which politicians are held begs a question. Who would want to work in an environment where your service receivers have such a low opinion of you? Then there is the ever-present question of job insecurity, arising roughly every five years but sometimes arriving suddenly and without warning. This demands that you prove your worth to your constituents with weeks of campaigning during long, dark winter evenings and with no guarantee that you will be successful. The threat of rejection by the voters is real and substantial. Indeed with 159 seats to be filled from more than 500 candidates in this General Election, defeat for most is inevitable.


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