In two weeks time we’re heading for the poles to elect our next round of county Councillors and Members of the European Parliament.
There are a few big changes this year.
- Town councils are being abolished, and some councils are being amalgamated. (from 114 local authorities to 31)
- The total number of Councillors in Ireland will reduce from 1,627 to 950 (a drop of 677 seats)
- With the property tax being earmarked to go to the local councils, they will have their own funding for the first time in about 40 years.
And what do our Councillors do?
- Make decisions about how the local budget is spent.
- This may be on Housing, Roads, Libraries, Amenities (playgrounds, etc)
- Make policy decisions around various local issues
- Help people dealing with the bureaucracy of a council
Local councillors can’t make any decision regarding national issues, for example in Education, Health, etc.
So, when we go to the polls on Friday 23rd, what are we voting for?
Well, a lot of us are angry at the way the country has gone, and the narrative goes like this:
‘Fianna Fail fiddled while the whole thing exploded, we voted for Fine Gael and Labour to fix it. Fine Gael because they promised political reform and Labour because we believed they would keep Fine Gael in check (Just in case too much of the blue-shirt gene started showing)
‘Unfortunately, Fine Gael haven’t reformed politics, there were no report cards on under-performing politicians, and very, very few resignations. Labour have supported FEMPI and seem to be a bit too enthusiastic in cutting some areas and I don’t trust the shinners I’ve heard there’s a Green Party, but haven’t seen of them recently, they’ve gone extinct, I think.’
The question now becomes what does this have to do with the Local Elections?
For each of us it is this. Do I vote for the person who will work for my local community/needs/interests or do I work to support a party or a political ideal? And in this case the political ideal may be to shout to the government that ‘enough is enough’. Do I vote against the government candidates just to prove a point? And if so, who do I vote for then?
But, if all politics are local, then is it also important to look at the candidates who have served their communities well, and ask them to keep on doing the same?
I haven’t figured out my own answer to that question yet, but I do need to look at it. The only thing I am sure of is that Saturday 24th will be a very busy day for the pundits.