Seven independents are running in Galway West while three have thrown their hat into the ring in Galway East. Sinn Féin and the Greens are also running candidates in the constituency and Insider feels that before they can gain our support they must be able to answer the following questions.
1. What political ideology best describes you, are you liberal or conservative?
While it may be quite easy to label Catherine Connolly as far left, the task of labelling Noel Grealish is a difficult one. He will stand for whatever you are having yourself on any given day. Eamon Walsh would be considered a candidate of the left, while Tomas Welby would be another “whatever you’re having yourself” type.
2. Are you a person of strong principles? Would you be prepared to resign your Dáil seat based on these principles, and could you provide an example from your past where you demonstrated such strong principles?
Cllr Connolly would pride herself in leaving The Labour Party, but surely that was only due to her own selfish ambition in wanting to run for the Dáil. Dep Grealish withdrew his support for the Government when it was clear it was no longer electorally beneficial to support them. Could you consider these strong principles, when he voted for the Government 99 per cent of the time since entering Dáil Éireann?
3. What will you do to deliver infrastructure developments in Galway such as the Galway Outer Bypass, the Galway Port Redevelopment or the Claregalway Bypass?
Cllr Connolly seems to be against all development so she will probably work to block all of the projects mentioned. Dep Grealish will as before promise to deliver all of them the week after the election if you support him, but somehow will be promising them all again at the subsequent election.
4. If asked to support the formation of a government, will you enter into negotiations with the main parties? If so will you negotiate primarily for the delivery of local projects, or will you take a more national approach?
Do not expect a straight answer to this question. The Independents, Sinn Féin, and the Greens will all want to give the impression they can fix any local or national problem if elected. Either way, you can be assured they will all sell their soul to the highest bidder.
Another question here could be for Dep Grealish; You have entered agreements with previous governments, what have you delivered for the people of Galway and Ireland? Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy Rae delivered endless bounty but Galway seems to have been left sitting without no significant injection of government resources.
5. Would you scrap the IMF/EU bailout deal?
Sinn Féin has clearly stated that it would, however, even after cuts of €6 billion in the December Budget we will need to borrow a further €13 billion just to keep the country open for business. With funding no longer available to us on bond markets how would Sinn Féin propose to pay public servants such as teachers, nurses, guards, etc?
6. The incoming government is likely to have a large majority therefore the role of Independents will be largely irrelevant. As a result, why would someone vote for an Independent candidate?
They will squirm at this question, but the only hope of Independents having a role to play in the next government is through entering into negotiations with Fine Gael to form a single party minority administration.
If so, how do they feel about electing Enda Kenny as our next taoiseach? Are they prepared to support such a government? Dep Grealish will of course say whatever you are having yourself. Cllr Connolly will probably throw her rattler out of the pram, and the rest will ask “Who is Enda Kenny?”
7. What qualities and experience do you bring to the role of a prospective TD? Will you give up your existing profession and interests and focus all your time on being a full time public representative if successfully elected?
Cllr Connolly will probably ramble on about family and the Galway City Council for an endless period of time on your doorstep. It is unlikely she will mention being involved in a lucrative legal practice specialising in family law, which she may decide to continue even if elected. Dep Grealish is a successful businessman which he has continued to run while being a TD.
8. What do you feel is the biggest issue you are hearing on the door steps, and as a Independent TD how will you address this issue if elected to Dáil Éireann?
Expect to hear them talk about the economy and jobs a fair bit in response to this question. Do not expect them to provide any practical solutions to any of these problems. Each of the Independents and Sinn Féin know they will never have to address these problems if elected as they will have no meaningful role to play in government anyway.
In summary, if Independent, Green, or Sinn Féin candidate comes to your door canvassing, you may as well tell them not to bother wasting their breath. They may want to waste their own lives getting elected to Dáil Éireann for a large salary, but to think they can actually achieve anything meaningful is naïve.