Today (Friday) is voting day in the Wexford By-Election with 191 polling stations around the county open from 7 am to 10 pm and nine candidates vying for one seat vacated by Mick Wallace MEP (Independent4Change) who was successful in the Ireland-South constituency to the European Parliament last May.
This is the first by-election in Wexford since 1945, and while the people’s chosen legislator will have less than six months to warm that precious seat, your choice will have a bigger bearing than you think on the 2020 General Election. At the Local Elections last May 116,660 were eligible to vote in the Wexford constituency, so that figure will only change one way or the other by a few hundred! And remember politicians hate elections! Placing any kind of decision-making in the hands of the electorate is a democratic dread in the minds of those inside the tent and in charge of the destiny of us mere mortals.
It has been a bruising campaign in many ways. First is the gender issue, which only appears to be of interest in the bigger population centres. It has taken a hammering here in Wexford. One candidate who was outspoken and uttered the ‘wrong’ sentiments was put on trial and castigated by the mainstream media, but supported by her party leader, and then silenced in the media, while another potential candidate who freely expressed opposing party views in the media received no support from her party leadership and was left out in the cold. Both from the ‘coalition’ side; one spoke and was silenced, the other (who is an elected member of the local council) was denied the chance to speak on behalf of her supporters! Uniquely, today is a chance for the voters to deliver the people’s verdict.
And then there is social media. The anger, vulgarity and virulence emitted from this sector was barbaric. One elected councillor who supported a neighbour candidate that was in the wars was subjected to some of the worst personal comments that I ever witnessed. I’m sure he would accept constructive criticism, but this was utter violation of human understanding and there is no place in a democratic system for this kind of reckless and careless behaviour. You would wonder why anyone would enter public life to be subjected to this kind of mindless abuse – and often emanating from individuals pre-occupied with upholding the positive side of smashing the ‘racism agenda’. I wonder how many of them actually make it to the ballot box?
So what’s my point? My point is that the voters going to the polls are not only electing a candidate to fill Mick Wallace’s seat, they are also given an opportunity to adjudicate on the degenerative side of Irish politics.
THE CANDIDATES AS THEY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT PAPER ARE;
BLACKMORE, Cinnamon Hunters Green, Gorey, (People Before Profit).
BYRNE, Malcolm 14, The Chase, Gorey (Fianna Fail).
CODD, Jim Aughnagan, Taghmon (Aontú).
DUBSKY, Karin Wood Walls, Ballymoney, Gorey (Green Party).
KEDDY, Charlie Sea Road, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow (Independent).
LAWLOR, George 12, Richmond Drive, Wexford (Labour Party).
MURPHY, Verona Ramsgrange (Fine Gael).
MYTHEN, Johnny Ballyorril, Enniscorthy (Sinn Féin).
O’NEILL, Melissa 40, Abbeylands, Ferrybank, Co. Waterford (Irish Freedom Party).
All residents of the county over the age of 18, except class E (EU citizens who are eligible to vote in European and Local Elections) and class L (non-EU citizens eligible to vote in Local Elections only) are entitled to vote in the By-Election.
At the polling station voters are likely to be asked to produce evidence of identity – there are a list of options on the rear of your polling information card – but they include a passport, driving licence, an employee identity card containing a photograph, bank, savings or Credit Union book containing the address in the constituency or local electorate area or a Public Services Card.
WexfordToday.com can only strongly advise that you cast your vote today. We can’t tell you who to vote for! And remember you can only vote ONCE and in person and if your mind has been confused by contrary events in Dail Éireann in recent times – pause – and remember different laws apply to voters and that is why you shouldn’t miss the rare opportunity that comes your way. GO OUT AND VOTE NOW. Your voice will be SILENCED for the next six months or so from 10 pm.