Politics was never the topic of hot discussion when it came to dinner time in my household. No one in my school’s father was a TD or mother a county councillor and up until the Marriage Referendum last year, the majority of my friends from my area would have been off the register rather than on. My strongest memories of CSPE from secondary school, was my teacher emphasising the difference between a want and a need, and designing a poster of inclusion for Pavee Point.

I understand the feeling that the politics of our country is something as far removed from me and the reality of my world, as that of the politics of Serbia. I understand how this lack of political engagement can leave you feeling disillusioned come the time of Elections,  being left not with the question of “who” should I vote for, but more so “why” should I even bother to vote at all?

But, as seen by the surge in voting by young people during the Marriage Referendum of last May, our voices can be heard and can make a difference when we chose to make it our priority. The next question then is, where do you begin in finding the candidate that you believe will bring change for the better, not only to your area but across the country?

I have always found the idea of supporting one political party a daunting prospect; voting for a candidate who, when push comes to shove, must abide by the party line. An image that stands out in my mind is always that of Ruairí Quinn, standing at the front of Trinity College Dublin, before the General Election of 2011, signing a USI pledge promising not to raise student contributions were he elected to government. Subsequently, during Mr Quinn’s time as Minister for Education the Student contribution increased by 250 euro every September and currently stands at 3,000 euro.

So, if party politics isn’t your cup of tea, who else is there left for you to vote for? Dublin South West has the joint largest number of independent candidates running in a constituency for election in 2016, at a total of 8 candidates. And although there are no safe bets, it is worthwhile to take time to consider who these candidates are, why they are running and clarify for yourself the good, the bad and the ugly.


 

Declan Burke 

Q: Why did you chose to run as an Independent and not as a member of a political party?

I saw what political parties had done to this country. I saw that a fundamental problem with the parties was the whip system. We haven’t had an independent candidate elected in Dublin South West since 1961. I wanted to be a voice for the people, I felt we needed change, so instead of complaining, I decided to act.

Q: What makes you qualified to represent the people of Dublin South West?

I have a (Hons) Degree in Journalism and Visual Media from Griffith College, which took in many aspects of contemporary politics. I have been working in my community tirelessly as an activist for many years, helping constituents whenever possible

Q: If elected, how will ensure your voice is heard in the Dáil?

My voice will be heard because I will speak up for the people. I will cooperate with other elected members serious about change. I will be a voice for the people and unlike party representatives I will not have to ask permission to say what my constituents want me to say.

Deirdre O’Donovan 

Independent candidate in Dublin South West , Deirdre O'Donovan

Independent candidate in Dublin South West , Deirdre O’Donovan

Q: Why did you chose to run as an Independent and not as a member of a political party?

We were never particularly political but after the financial crash in 2008, I saw the devastation caused to my community and there was no-one representing ordinary people like me.  I saw an ad looking for volunteers for Shane Ross and within a week I was managing his campaign in the Knocklyon/Rathfarnham area.

Q: What makes you qualified to represent the people of Dublin South West?

My whole background is community volunteering and since getting elected to SDCC I have linked in with thousands of people through my setting up of and support of community groups so I am fully aware of the issues affecting this area.  The volunteer sector is what’s kept this country going and it’s that expertise we need at the heart of our next government to deliver a responsible and sustainable recovery.

Q: If elected, how will ensure your voice is heard in the Dáil?

In SDCC we have a Community Alliance of seven independents working together and supporting each other.  Out of 40 councillors, we have raised 42% of the questions and 36% of the Motions – proving we are the strongest voice for our communities. Working with the Independent Alliance, this can only strengthen our position in Dáil Eireann.

Frank O’Gorman

Q: Why did you chose to run as an Independent and not as a member of a political party?

Political parties in my personal experience are self-serving with different clicks in a Community and abuse their position as has again been my Personal experience, perfect example of this; not 1 political party left or right will broach the subject of 900,000 Non Irish now working and living in Ireland, which is the cause of rising rents, buckling Health service and Infrastructure.

Q: What makes you qualified to represent the people of Dublin South West?

My experience of working in Ireland, a business in the shipyard in NI selling Southern Manufacture Products in the Troubles, living and working in Africa in Tourism and since returning dealing with corrupt county Councillors and TDs and senior Executives in BOTH SDCC, DLR and DCC.

Q: If elected, how will ensure your voice is heard in the Dáil?

Bring the truth to the people informing them of hard facts and not spin, i.e. the elephant in the room of this election; 900,000 extra people living in Ireland and Politicians of all hues scratching their heads in collusion and calling anybody raciest who dares to bring it up.

Joan Summerville-Molloy

Q: Why did you chose to run as an Independent and not as a member of a political party?

I want to bring a voice for the vulnerable in our community to the Dáil. These vulnerable groups include the Children, the Elderly and the those with Disabilities and Special Needs that have been neglected by the other parties.

Q: What makes you qualified to represent the people of Dublin South West?

My life experience to date. I have been involved in local Initiatives and working with the vulnerable in our community for the last 15 yrs.

Q: If elected, how will ensure your voice is heard in the Dáil?

There will be a large number of Independents in the new Dáil in March.   I will align myself with like-minded individuals to Lobby for a Minister and an Independent Ombudsman for the Elderly, the Disabled and where by every Council in the country should have a disability and inclusion officer. Since this will be my focus, I will work daily to have my voice heard and tirelessly promote this agenda.

Éamonn Maloney

Q: Why did you chose to run as an Independent and not as a member of a political party?

I decided to run as an Independent candidate to continue to represent the people of Dublin South West.

Q: What makes you qualified to represent the people of Dublin South West?

I was elected to South Dublin County Council in 1999 and re-elected in the 3 subsequent elections.

Q: If elected, how will ensure your voice is heard in the Dáil?

By prioritising the social issues in Dáil Eireann at every opportunity.


 

Three other Independent Candidates are running in Dublin South West,  and although they did not partake in this article it is easy to inform yourself on their policies through their websites, which are linked below.

Peter Fitzpatrick 

Keiran Adam Quigley 

Senator Katherine Zappone


The number of Independents running in Dublin South West, highlights the change in attitude towards political involvement in the area. Whether you are a passionate partaker, first time voter or normally swayed by a candidate’s election poster more than their policies, this election is your chance to engage, be informed and take full advantage of making your voice heard.