Time for us to shape the Ireland that we all want

When we come to elect a new government, we are often influenced by the desire to do right by the candidate. He or she is a grand person, who will look after ya, who says hello to you on the street, who will look after your pothole (not a euphemism ).

However, lest we think that an election is handing the guts-of-a-million-euro contract to someone for a five-year period, we have to look beyond the enrichment of those who we will elect next month.

At this juncture in history, when we have seen the perils of reacting with impulse to candidates, or treating our climate with disdain, of having a mistrust of the Other, it is more important than ever that we make a decision based on the sort of life we want for ourselves and our families.

The next question then is matching that desire to the candidates who are put before us. It's a bit like Operation Transformation, in that you have to struggle to see who is the person who best reflects your situation, your ethos.

Judge your chosen candidates on what they have said, what they have done, how they have deported themselves. Judge them on whether you believe they have the ability to be even better, to transform themselves into the representative you want.

Also judge them on what will be their capacity to get things done realistically.

Judge them as you sit in your cars in traffic, as you hold the hand of loved ones in hospitals, judge them when you hear of the vulnerable feeling more vulnerable. Judge them on how they have responded to the humanitarian needs of others.

Above all, judge them because they are asking to be judged. Judge them also for the fact that they have put their head above the parapet. There are many of us who would be unwilling to give up our lives for public service. Treat them all with respect and dignity when they come knocking on your door. Pause Netflix. That will still be there when you get back in. The chance to make change won't be.

In four weeks time, a quarter or so of the candidates who stand before you will be YOUR representatives. And the rest of the country will judge YOU on YOUR choices. Choose well and choose the best.


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