Sunday, May 27, 2007
Election Day Blues
It’s a disappointing result for me personally, for my family and friends, for Labour party members locally and nationally and of course for the people who voted for me.
I’ve lost elections before and I’ve had some failures in my life, so it’s not a new experience to me. I prefer to win, but I know that the pain of losing passes and that the main thing to do is to learn lessons. The sun came out on Saturday morning and the world moved on.
I’m not sure what we could have done differently. The swing to Fianna Fail in the past week was too great. Their local candidates performed well throughout the campaign and really we don’t have any complaints. We lost and they won.
I do feel particularly sorry for Paul, the RTE cameraman, who was assigned to my campaign for the final few days. RTE are doing a documentary on a few candidates and he was assigned to Meath. He was in my house with me when I got the dreaded phone call from the count centre just before one o’clock on Friday afternoon. It was just myself, himself and a rolling camera. I reckon he would have preferred to be anywhere else at that particular moment!
I’m also sad for my colleagues across the nation who failed to get elected despite mounting terrific campaigns locally. We had some good news with the successes of Joanna Tuffy, Sean Sherlock and Ciaran Lynch, but really we were hoping for a few more as well as them.
Thanks to everyone who helped in whatever way, either through canvassing, putting up posters, dropping leaflets, making sandwiches, or just simply being there for myself and the team.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I voted this morning in Congress Avenue school.
At the polling booth
The presiding officer told me that the turnout by 9am was quite high. I reckon that it could top 70% across the county.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Final few days
It started off with an award for being a potential Dail Dude. Basically, I got to nominate a charity of my choice to receive €1,000. I went for the Abacus school for Autism, who do great work for families across Louth and Meath. I also got to lay a bet for €1,000 on Ged Nash. If he wins in Louth the Abacus school gets a further €7,000.
Receiving the award with Anne Marie Martin from Dublin South Central.
I was followed around for the day by a crew from RTE. They are doing a documentary on the election and are following myself, Mary O Rourke, Denis Naughton and Niall O Brolochain.
Outside the Advice Centre with the RTE crew
I brought them to Newgrange, where we did a photoshoot, and also to a few estates in the East Meath area. They will be with me for a couple more days this week.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Into the last week…..
The campaign continues to go well for us. People are very receptive and eager to talk. So far, so good.
On Thursday I went up to Montrose to go on RTE 1 TV about health issues. On the show with me were Dr Liam Twomey, Fine Gael spokesperson on Health and Minister of the Environment Mr Dick Roche.
Speaking about MRSA on RTE 1
The show itself was good fun. Afterwards I bumped into Sean O Rourke, who quizzed me about the likely outcome in Meath West and Louth.
On Saturday I attended the Meath East Community Association’s fundraiser in Scotch Hall in Drogheda with the other Meath East candidates. I had to pack shopping bags for a couple of hours. It was good fun and all for a good cause. Later I headed out to Duleek and then across to the City North Hotel in Stamullen where my godson was hosting his communion lunch. It was nice to take a few hours off from the canvas to celebrate with the family. The lunch flew by and soon I was back on the trail in Stamullen for the rest of the evening.
Monday, May 14, 2007
What's Another Weekend?
We chose Millmount Abbey because it’s an example of how to do things right. I first canvassed the estate three years go (for the local elections) and I’ve probably called to every door there about 5 or 6 times in the last three years. It’s always been a pleasure to canvas there – people are happy with their houses and where they live. Our position is that poor developers should find it difficult to get planning permissions and that good developers (like here) should be encouraged.
Press Conference about Unfinished Housing Estates
The Battle Bus then went to Betaghstown Wood in Bettystown before going to Stamullen for an hour. We were joined on the day with European colleagues from France and Portugal, who came along to observe our campaign and to help out.
On Saturday night I took the night off and watched RTE's Eurovision coverage. Where is Johnny Logan when you need him? Actually, as it turns out, he was at home in County Meath. I know this because I called to his house and asked him for his vote last week!
After church in Curragha on Sunday I attended the launch of our €1 bus fare policy. We propose to introduce a flat fare of €1 from Ratoath, Dunshaughlin and Ashbourne to Dublin.
Bus Fare Launch in Dublin
After the launch I went to Ratoath and called to houses in Somerville, Fox Lodge and the Village Green. Although the temperature outside was cold, the reception on the doors was warm. The opinion of my team is that Ratoath is all to play for!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Campaign at the half-way stage
The campaign continues to go well. Our volunteers are still getting out there and we are getting our message across.
I’ve also been on the airwaves during the week. I was on LMFM's Loose Talk taking about Trade and Employment for an hour on Thursday and I got the chance to go on Morning Ireland on Friday morning. I had to travel to Athy Co Kildare to do the show, which was on commuting from the peri-urban areas of Meath, Kildare and South of Dublin.
I drove down the night before and stayed over in the town. Next morning I walked over to the small café where the show was taking place.
In the Café just before going "On Air”
On the show were Cathal McCoille, Mary White of the Greens and Sean Fleming of Fianna Fail. We discussed issues in relation to commuting, facilities and schooling. I mentioned the water situation in Ashbourne and Ratoath, the lack of Broadband in Stamullen and the rail link to Dunboyne. The fifteen minutes flew and before I knew it, it was nine o clock.
The rest of the day was very wet. We did manage to do quite a few house to house calls between the showers, so it wasn’t a total washout.
Canvassing in Ashbourne
Monday, May 07, 2007
One week in...
We've been really lucky with the weather. Yesterday (Sunday) was the first bit of rain we've seen since the start of the campaign. I was outside mass in Nobber and just managed to get back into the car after the service before the rain came.
The reception in Nobber was very positive. Obviously Shane McEntee is going to do extremely well there (it's his home patch) but still I think it's important to go there.
The team is very happy with the feedback so far. I got a mention on the RTE Six One News on Friday night from Darren Hughes, editor of the Drogheda Independent who seems to think we are well placed to win. So too from Ken Murray of the Sunday Mirror.
We're taking nothing for granted. People are certainly telling us they want to make a change. We need to convince them that we are best placed to affect change. For instance, on the housing market, people ask how we are going to help people get on the property ladder. Here's our committment on that.
Our Committment to introduce a "Begin to Buy" scheme
We're also getting lots of offers to help out. If you want to get involved then ring our office on 041 988 6307.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
But one particular “complaint” was unusual. A lady out in Kilmoon berated me for NOT putting up enough posters around her house. I met her in Duleek yesterday outside a shop.
“The others have loads up” she said, “Do you not care about us?”
I told her I’d take care of it. That’s a first for us. If you want any posters outside your house just let us know ;)
Here’s a video about the Meath / Louth boundary….
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Up and Running
Sunday night was the pre-arranged launch of Ged Nash's campaign in Drogheda. I went along and listened to a great speech by Jack O Connor, followed by Ged himself.
Ged Nash launches his campaign.....
He was in flying form the next morning on a radio debate against the Minster of Foreign Affairs. Later on I was out talking to people and a lady asked me what we would do about Carers. We want to abolish the means test, as I explain in the following video:
Our committment on abolishing the Means Test for Carers
The worst thing that happened to me so far on the trail is that I got hit on the head by a bird's droppings. That's the second time this has happened to me in the last ten days. My team says it's double good luck and we'll get two quotas. Within ten minutes my Director of Elections was talking about adding a second candidate and going for two seats (I think he has aspirations). I'll be keeping my eye on his actions until nominations close next week......