Last Saturday I was in Salthill for a few hours. It has been about two years since I was in Salthill last. I was amazed again at the grandeur of it; the wide Atlantic breaking in; the long and lovely promenade.
All this would lift your heart. It was a beautiful day, so there were plenty of people out walking on the promenade and even children playing on the beach. Imagine that at the end of October.
Great work has been done by the local authority on that promenade all the way back out past the Claddagh. We took that road in and it was so worth it to see Salthill at its very best.
The venue was the Salthill Hotel. I had stayed there many years ago, but it has been beautifully transformed since then. It is now so modern and so suitable. A wonderful woman, Fiona Killilea, is managing the hotel and she made us feel so very welcome.
So why was I in Salthill? I was there for the purpose of meeting with and promoting Councillor Mary Hoade who is a candidate in the forthcoming General Election. She had gathered together upwards of one hundred people, all enthusiastic, all fired up, all ready to canvass and to support her for the campaign. I also met John Connolly who is the Fianna Fáil candidate in Galway City. Éamon Ó Cuív was doing a clinic out in Maam Cross and so he missed joining us.
It was a very enthusiastic gathering. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple who were all very well versed on all 18 candidates who are now declared and running in Galway West.
They agreed with me that Éamon Ó Cuív and John O’Mahony look good for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Councillor Catherine Connolly (Independent ) featured strongly in our discussion, with it being said that she was a fine candidate and would make it this time.
I myself believe that Mary Hoade is the ‘dark horse.’ The surprise in this election will be the votes she will get. She is extremely hard working and has made an amount of inroads into her constituency. Imagine, 18 candidates! I also met an old friend, Josie Conneely of Ballyconneely, and we talked over old times. Altogether, it was a most refreshing ambitious few hours spent in Salthill, and I have great hopes of the outcome for Fianna Fáil there.
To another topic: I want to write for a few minutes about Renua. I always liked Lucinda Creighton. When she was a Junior Minister, I served on a committee in Dáil Éireann with her. Later, I met her in Athlone when she and I took part in an entertaining discussion/dialogue at The Dean Crowe Hall.
Since then I have followed her progress as party leader. I can tell you there is no one working as hard at her job as Lucinda Creighton. She has come out with position papers for her Party. She is constantly searching and getting good candidates all over the country. In my view, Renua Ireland will make a good stab at seven-10 seats in the next General Election. As leader of that Party, Lucinda really deserves a good outcome from all of the work she is doing.
Now, how is the gender quota arrangement working out? Well, Fianna Fáil are at 29 per cent. Fine Gael are in a similar situation. I understand that once all of the conventions have been held for both Parties that each respective election committee sits down and will see where they will add on female women if they are still short of same.
Of course this is the aspect of the gender quota that I hate. I have come across many women who have made it on their own merit, such as Councillor Mary Butler in Waterford who went to a convention in which there were five councillors and she came out as the top runner out of the five. Now there is no gender quota in that she won her spurs by being the best.
There are many other similar examples all over the country, both in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Of course, Labour have more than exceeded their quota of women candidates, likewise Sinn Féin. The RedC Poll last weekend would have left Labour feeling down in the dumps particularly after the great efforts they had put into their part of what would be viewed as a good Budget.
I remain of the view that the polls are not to be believed. They have been proven wrong in the UK where no one ever foresaw that David Cameron and his Conservatives would obtain an overall majority. The polls were wrong in Greece where Syriza beat what were seen as injurious polls to still come out on top.
Just to round up my piece with this last paragraph. What did you think of the amateur dramatics which were played out in Madrid last week when Enda Kenny was over there to link with his European people’s party?
There on foreign soil he told a mixed up jumbled story with himself as hero, having snatched Ireland from the bloodless coup of the Troika, and furthermore involved the Governor of the Central Bank in a conversation which the Governor appears to think he never had with An Taoiseach.
As Enda famously said himself one time, ‘Paddy likes to know the story’. Yes, indeed Paddy likes to know the story, but a real story, not a trumped-up exaggerated version of something that surely never happened.
Happy reading and a happy Halloween to all of you.
Slán go Fóill,