COUNCILLORS all over Waterford City and County are not sleeping too easily. One Fianna Fáil councillor told the Waterford News & Star that he has spent “more time on the toilet than in the bed” in the last few weeks, while a Fine Gael councillor has suddenly become plagued with migraines.
They will all be made redundant this week and will be relying on the public vote to see if they’ll be getting their jobs back come June 1. In the last few months they have been knocking on as many doors as possible, trying to convince the public that they’re worth their ‘number ones’. However, it hasn’t all been going to plan. We asked some councillors for their strangest canvassing experiences during Local Elections 2019.
Jim Griffin, Sinn Fein
“Whilst canvassing up in Summerhill Terrace a chap opened the door completely naked. I’m not sure who he was expecting but we had some good banter anyway and he actually let me say my bit, while he left his bit out. In Butlerstown, I saw a beautiful garden that had a magnificent seat in it. There was nobody in the house when I called so I took the opportunity to take a seat and check my phone. Before I knew what was happening, I was asleep and I woke up 40 minutes later!”
Eamon Quinlan, Fianna Fáil
“During canvassing I met a bride in her full gown as she was coming out the door on the way to the church. I certainly wasn’t the man of her dreams she was expecting to see that day. I met a man with an axe who only agreed to put it down after I gave him my pitch and was satisfied. Another man had a chainsaw who had me inspect his bushes to make sure they were even. I’ve also become somewhat of a dog whisperer after calming many a dog down while venturing into a yard.”
John Cummins, Fine Gael
“On one door earlier in the campaign I was asked what the position was with posters and did individuals have a say in who put up a poster outside their house. I initially thought the person was going to give out about the posters, only to be told ‘well make sure your poster goes up on that poll, we don’t want to be looking at anyone else’. While that was definitely a confidence boost, another person told me I looked different in person to my leaflet. When I asked which was better I was told ‘it’s amazing what they can do on computers these days’. One thing is for sure you certainly wouldn’t want to be sensitive on the campaign trail but you just can’t beat meeting people and I’d like to thank everyone for the courtesy they showed my team and I over the last eight weeks.”
Marc O Cathasaigh, Green Party
“My best friend, Stephen, who is only 42, came out hanging posters with me. He was in bad form, complaining that he’d had wicked indigestion for the previous week. I said ‘you’d want to mind that – can be a sign of heart trouble, you know.’ We both laughed that off – Stephen’s a marathon runner with not an ounce of fat on him. A few days later, still suffering with ‘heartburn’, he went to the doctors. Two hours later, he was having stents inserted! Lucky enough, he’d had his heart attack between 9am and 5pm. I’ve had some very committed canvassers, but he’s walking away with the ‘hardcore volunteer’ award.”
Breda Brennan, Sinn Fein
“Although I’m scared of strange dogs, I helped an owner retrieve his Rottweiler who had gotten loose. I called the dog over to me while she was sniffing my leg allowing the owner to catch up with her!”
Eddie Mulligan, Fianna Fáil
“Where to start! The ladder went from under me putting up posters; got mistaken for Alan Reynolds on a door and got 101 questions about ‘the Blues’ with the constituent thinking Alan had gone into politics until I gave him the newsletter; came across an old sea mine that I had to check was inert and lots of encounters with foxes, pheasants, house martins and dogs!”