"We know what we are up against, but it is about getting our message out there and building for the future and showing people there is an alternative out there - this is a process, it won't happen overnight, we want to get the message out there that there is an alternative for people and we don't have to just take the narrative that is constantly spun that only helps a small number in society. It is a hard slog to build it, but we are determined to do it", said People Before Profit Mayo candidate Joe Daly, explaining to the Mayo Advertiser this week why he is out knocking on doors and looking for people's votes
Getting involved in politics
Daly, a school teacher by profession, didn't really have any intention of getting involved in politics in his younger days but then, when the economy took a turn for the worse in the late 2000s and he saw things changing, he felt he had to do something. He continued: "I had no background in politics, none of my family were involved in politics - it wasn't really until the crash in 2008 and I saw all the cuts happening around me in the education system, I saw special needs assistants being cut, traveller supports, pay inequality and pension cuts - then mass emigration - so many of my friends had to emigrate, my own family - and that provoked me to become more active.
"I got involved in trade unions first as an activist inside the ASTI to try and resist those cuts. Then the water movement came along in 2014 or so and I got involved and we tried to drive that back here in Mayo and we got some good success, we beat back a charge that would have cost families €500 and it could have led to water privatisation and put a huge level of fear into the big parties.
"From there, for me, the most articulate voice in that campaign were People Before Profit. I would have seen them as a strong articulate party who offered people an alternative. From there then we have been trying to build the party here in Mayo, we ran a candidate in the last election in 2016 and later I was selected as the local candidate and I have been pursuing that wholeheartedly since."
Putting yourself before the people
This will be the second time in less than a year that Daly has put himself before the people, having run in the local elections last May in the Castlebar area. He is enjoying being out there trying to get people to listen to him and his party's message. " I enjoy meeting people, the buzz of a mass movement of people and people power and I am determined to try and change the way society is going and end the endless cycle of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which is causing a huge impasse in society and we need to break from those parties.
"You think you know your own town until you get out on the doors - but people are listening and are looking for an alternative. I think it is beginning to accelerate, but you find people think there is no alternative to Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael - but if you go back through history and go to the 1918 election when Sinn Féin stood and the Labour candidates stood down, for them to stand against British imperialism and create a parliament of their own, people would have said they were mad, it was hopeless they were too powerful, it will never work, but that's not how things work."
The key issues that need addressing
As for the reception on the doors, it has been positive so far, said Daly, adding: "It's been positive, people are listening and people are willing to consider - people need to be convinced there is an alternative, that is why we produced our alternative budget and our eco-socialist manifesto and we have fairly radical polices of how to transform how we do things in society and to transform some of the major issues like the environmental climate disaster.
"Three main key issues, health, housing and childcare come up - childcare is a huge one. What we have in our manifesto is we have €1 Billion which is €550 million in capital projects and €450 million for hiring more childcare services and providing proper insurance.
"I'm in the position myself of being right there in the middle of it - we need a national childcare system like the national primary system. We need people working with decent pay, conditions and pension rights and we need to offer the private operators struggling with insurance costs and red tape to come in and run a national childcare service with proper funding and that is rationally planned. Let's roll that out to what we would hope, in the first year, would be 33 hours per parent of free childcare for every family and minimise any expenditure on childcare to three per cent of income - at the moment people are paying 25 per cent and more of their income on childcare .
"It is unviable, I have four kids myself and we raised them in the worst recession this country has seen and I know what it feels like and what parents are going through; my wife, she couldn't work because it was not viable during that time - we have to make it viable for people and that would see people spend more money in the local economy and in towns which would then feed into other jobs."
Getting the left out to vote
With the two big parties historically dominating the seats in Mayo it is a tough task for a left wing candidate to break through in the county, but Daly believes the vote is there for someone to make the break: "The two big parties were on about 60 per cent so that leaves 40 per cent there, but there is also another 35 per cent or so who didn't vote at all - if you combine those two there is a left vote there to get someone in.
"Getting them out to vote and to vote left is the thing, we are in a building phase at the moment and are looking to break that cycle - there are left votes, but I would caution people about voting for candidates that will prop up the establishment - because history has shown us that every single decade that a left party went in with a centre right party, they have been gobbled up and spat out and have not been able to implement any of their major policies, which resulted in demoralisation of the left. The only party that has given an absolute guarantee they will not prop up the right is People Before Profit."
Trying to convince people that your message is the right one
As for meeting the people and trying to sell his message, Daly is enjoying it and feels he has to do it too: "I do - I'm learning all the time, I enjoy the thrust of arguing and trying to win them over with an argument and letting them know what we are about and putting forward an open and honest vision and seeing who can join us.
"I think it is the right thing to do, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I didn't. At the moment I don't see a future for my children in this country in the west of Ireland if we don't have radical change in the next five to ten years."