Thursday 23 May 2019

Teen stands in local election

Carah Daniel will stand for Solidarity in the local elections in May for the Balbriggan Ward
Carah Daniel will stand for Solidarity in the local elections in May for the Balbriggan Ward

Ken Phelan

Surely the youngest candidate to run in the local elections this May will be 19-year-old Carah Daniel who will bid to represent Fingal Solidarity for the Balbriggan ward, on a largely youth-centred platform she hopes will capture the hearts and minds of the town's young population.

Despite her youth, Carah, a first-time candidate for Balbriggan, has been active with the Solidarity party for the past five years, working closely alongside Cllr Eugene Coppinger and Terry Kelleher.

Carah's election campaign will focus on a number of issues affecting young people in Balbriggan, such as housing, mental health and climate change. It is through these campaigns, she says, that she hopes to become 'the voice for young people on Fingal County Council'.

Speaking during the run-up to next month's local elections, Carah explains how she came to get involved with the Solidarity party, and some of the campaigns she'll be working on: 'I got involved over Savita Halappanavar, and then in the Socialist Party, I kind of realised that in order to change things, it can't be just on one issue. Once you start thinking politically, for me it just opened up the alternative to all the things that are happening.

'I think there are lots of local issues in Balbriggan, but they're kind of related to the bigger issue. The housing crisis is definitely serious. We work with Eugene Coppinger in Swords, and he would see a lot of housing issues and things like that.

'We want to fight against racism, and for the climate change thing, we organised a school student walk-out in Balbriggan, so we're trying to have a campaign with school students on that issue.'

For this year's local elections, Carah says, the focus has been on encouraging young people to register to vote, explaining that while local elections aren't seen as particularly 'glamorous', they're still very important for the town.

She says: 'The response (to the campaign) has been very good so far. I think it's still early days and that people aren't necessarily deciding what way they're going to vote, but I think that people have been quite open to some of the things we're bringing forward, particularly on climate change.

'It's hard to know yet electorally, but generally it's been a very good response.'

Carah says she believes that if the party focuses on the issues affecting young people, it makes politics 'more accessible' to them. This would appear to ring true, since her campaign, she says, is backed largely by college and school students.

As perhaps the youngest candidates running in this year's local elections, Carah is unsure about prospects of winning but she is hopeful that young people will be drawn to the campaign.

She says: 'I think for some people, they wouldn't vote for someone so young, but I think that now, there's a lot of young people that are looking for an alternative, and will see what we're raising as being relevant to them, so I think it's a positive thing.

'I'm completely nervous, and putting up posters etc. isn't something I'm used to, but I just think it's worth doing it and that it'll have a positive impact.'

'I'm not sure if we'll get elected, just because we're new and young, and that's not going to appeal to everybody. We're hopeful, and we're looking forward to it, and if we even get a good vote and get people involved, that will be what we want to do.'

Fingal Independent