General Election 2020: Ballymahon voters have their say
6 Feb 2020
Mary Nally The county has suffered for lack of a TD over the past few years, says Mary Nally, and Longford people should vote local. “It’s the only county in Ireland not to have somebody representing it,” she said. “People in Longford should be really ashamed of themselves not to elect a local TD. It’s important that Longford votes Longford this time. We have to make sure one of them gets there.” For that reason, Mary will be voting for a Longford man on Saturday: “Unless we do that, we’re not going to have a TD in Longford because the quota is going to be very high and we need to keep on of them up there.”
Pat Cahill The pension is top of the list of issues for Colehill’s Pat Cahill who was on the streets of Ballymahon last week. “They want to give more for the pension but you have to wait until next March,” he explained. Homelessness is another major issue that the new government will have to face up to, he added. “But having a TD in Longford will do the county good.” And it’ll be party over people for Pat, who has a strong allegiance to one of the main parties and will vote according to the strong poltical views that his family has held for generations.
Philip Murrell Broadband and the pension age were two issues on Philip Murrell’s mind. Philip believes employers shouldn’t let people go until they reach the pension age. But he doesn't believe anything the parties are saying, he said: “There’s a lot about what they’re going to do and what they’re not going to do, and once they get into power, they forget about it.” “Some of the parties have been talking about introducing hate speech laws but I think that could be used to censor political discourse or freedom of speech assembly. As I do say, in a democracy, nobody has any right not to be offended!”
Mary McArdle Affordable housing is a major issue, according to Mary McArdle, who feels that young people have it extremely difficult. “You feel sorry for them. Even after doing college, what sort of jobs do they expect you to have to be able to get an ordinary mortgage,” she said. Health is also a major issue, she added: “We have a health centre down here and it’s very hard to get appointments. If we don’t need the money for the roads, why can’t it be allocated to where it is needed?” But our local man probably won’t even get listened to, she added, because rural issues are just not considered.
Brendan Quiggley Education is so important in this country and nobody mentioned a word about it in the debates, according to Brendan Quiggley. “It doesn’t seem to be an issue. We don’t have a college in Longford as such, but we send a lot of students to various colleges around the country,” he said. Nationally, there are a lot of general topics, like health, housing, etc, but at a constituency level, Brendan is looking at the local issues and voting for who he feels is best to deal with them. “At the end of the day, we elect somebody from our constituency to represent us,” he said.
Daniel Skukalek Restaurant-owner, Daniel Skukalek, thinks a lot more gardaí are needed on the streets to deal with all the recent feuding in Longford town. “I lived in Longford for ten years and the bigger issue there is the amount of feuds in the town,” he said. Daniel is a people over party kind of voter and plans to vote for the man who he feels will do the best job, rather than pledge allegiance to any particular party. “It’s better the person than the party. There are so many people involved in the parties, and I don’t know what the parties have done for Longford, so I’ll be voting for the person,” he said.
PICTURES: SHELLEY CORCORAN
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