Fine Gael general election candidate Micheal Carrigy
Edgeworthstown café, Bia Deas, was filled with the unmistakable buzz of election fever on Saturday afternoon as Micheál Carrigy’s campaign team fuelled up with tea and toast before heading out for another busy day on the campaign trail.
The main man himself was ready with a pot of tea, pouring a cup for this Longford Leader reporter as he and his campaign team discussed the course of action for the day ahead.
“We’ve got teams all over Longford at the moment,” said campaign manager John Duffy, listing off the numbers that were, at that very moment, visiting homes and businesses across county.
“Only half of the campaign team are actually members of Fine Gael but they really want to get him into the Dáil, so we’re getting them all out to get him in.”
Teacups drained and toast crumbs eaten, the team was up and out the door as quick as a flash, grabbing stacks of leaflets and donning hi-vis jackets before splitting up.
Campaign co-ordinator Paul Ross led the way to Kilbride Park where he and the Fine Gael General Election candidate, closely followed by this reporter, began knocking on doors.
As would be expected on a Saturday afternoon, many houses had nobody home but the doors that did open revealed the smiling faces of occupants who were happy to quiz their local candidate on what he would do for them if they promised him their number one vote.
Council housing was top of the agenda of Cathal and Majella Kelly who spoke to the Ballinalee man of a number of issues they were having with repairs in their home.
Cllr Carrigy was quick with the advice and, satisfied with his answer, the pair promised to feature him prominently on their ballot paper on February 8.
John Duffy was a short walk away and chatting to Ethna Carroll who had been mulling over the prospect of a Sinn Féin vote but, now that a real life candidate was standing before her, she was prepared to open her mind to other options.
“My kids are telling me to vote Sinn Féin. I've never voted Sinn Féin in my life but they’ve said to me that they’re the only ones doing anything for young people,” she said.
“But because of what this gentleman has said, I will vote for you because he just speaks so highly of you,” she added, referring to John Duffy who had been talking her through Cllr Carrigy’s literature just moments before.
The FG candidate’s hard work with St Christopher’s, in particular, struck a chord with the local lady, as did his plans to work hard for mental health services in the county.
“I think we need to get in younger,” Cllr Carrigy said, “We need to get in to national schools and work with the teachers so they can identify the needs of children at a young age and go from there.”
Further ahead, bright yellow jackets could be seen flitting from door to door, business to business and, while this journalist clung on for longer than necessary to see if any juicy rows would break out, it became abundantly clear that Micheál Carrigy has a huge level of support.
“I’m confident that the people of Longford will put their trust and faith in me. I have the best track record. I’m the most experienced of any of the Longford candidates. That’s what Longford wants in Dáil Éireann and that’s why I think the people in Longford will support me and vote Longford,” Cllr Carrigy explained between doors.
“I think it’s important that we come together, unite as a county, support the businesses in our county and vote for Micheál Carrigy on February 8 and make sure that we have good representation in the Dáil in the years ahead.”
He’s certainly confident that the seat is his and, if he’s consistently met with the level of positivity he faced on the doorsteps of Edgeworthstown last weekend, perhaps he’s right.