It Only Encourages Them has teamed up with Irish Election Literature to bring you a Seanad election literature special.
Alan did the hard work and tracked down the literature and provided the pictures, I’m adding some background to the former candidates. Kinda like playboy, but for political nerds. Like playboy, I’m sure you will only be reading this for the article also. 99% of the population will have never laid eyes on Seanad election material before, because, quite simply you do not have a vote. Seanad candidates literature has tendency to be little more eccentric than your bog standard council or Dáil election literature, lets start with Senator Jim Walsh.
Senator Jim Walsh, or anti gay, woman hating, über conservative as I prefer to call him. Jim is not renown for anything other than insulting women. Walsh claimed in 2009, that women working outside the home is a major cause of depression in young people.
Now if anyone, preferably anyone who has a 3rd level qualification, in code breaking or deciphering weird stuff, can tell me what the hell Jim is talking about, do let me know. Although ‘the cash lost in me’, Might refer to the amount of money the tax payer has wasted on him over the years.
Our next towering intellectual Hercules is the wee man from Donegal, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill. Brains Ó Domhnaill made headlines recently for being a member of the anti woman Fianna Fáil gang in the Seanad, the anti-woman Fianna Fáil gang made some outrageous statements about women during the recent protection of life during pregnancy bill. He is also in the news for being probed about expenses from his time as a councillor in Donegal during 2006 and 2007. He has since demanded the probe into his expenses is conducted in Irish. In his literature he openly admits to using the Seanad as a launching platform to get elected to the Dáil.
Senator Denis O’Donovan has only ever been in the national headlines once – after he lost the party whip after failing to support the Dog Breeding Establishment Bill back in 2010. Basically the bill demanded that dogs be treated properly. That didn’t appeal to him obviously. Again he tells us how the Seanad is a launching pad for his Dáil ambitions. What Denis neglects to tell people is that he has run for the Dáil six times and has been rejected by the people five times and that he actually got 5,984 first preference votes at the last election.
Another former TD and Senator looking to get a Dáil seat back via the Seanad. He failed to be elected to the Seanad this time. Sligo man Eamon Scanlon started out as a butcher and is currently an estate agent. He has been in the media recently because of his battles with another Fianna Fáil Senator, Marc MacSharry.
Fidelma Healy Eames, Or Fidelma Really Screams as the Leinster House political correspondents refer to her. Fidelma was previously an unsuccessful candidate at the 2002, 2007 and the 2011 general elections for the Galway West constituency. She has been Senator since 2007. In the news recently for being expelled from the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party for voting against the protection of life during pregnancy bill.
Former Fianna Fáil TD and Senator Donie Cassidy is a colourful character with great hair. Little known fact – Donie used to manage the country and western duo Foster and Allen. He used to send out country and western CDs to councillors around the country while he was a Senator. He failed to be elected to the Seanad the last time out. During a debate in April of 2008, he said “We have a duty to tell first-time house buyers, young couples with no previous experience, that there is unbelievable value in the marketplace today. It will not last forever. It is never the wrong time to do the right thing. I offer the House the benefit of my experience and my opinion which is all any Member can do. I will remind the House, perhaps in 12 or 18 months, when prices have again increased by 25% or 30%. Subsequently house prices actually decreased by up to 50% in some parts of his constituency of Longford Westmeath. In typical direct fashion he just asks for a vote because he needs it.
Former Fianna Fáil Councillor and Senator Don Lydon. In 2004, Lydon changed his place of residence from Dublin to Donegal to qualify for a different travel and subsistence rate, despite living and working in Dublin. Lydon’s yearly claim for travel and subsistence varied from €37,000 to €39,000 during the years 2004 to 2006, (in 2007 he claimed €24,000 as he only worked for 7 months). But his main claim to fame was his evidence at the Mahon tribunal and recently he was discharged from his corruption trial following legal discussions. He famously grabbed the Green Party TD Trevor Sargent in a headlock when Sargent waved a cheque, sent to him by a builder, during a speech in the council chamber of Dublin Corporation in the 1990s.
Of course there are others who actually do put themselves in front of the electorate, no matter how small and elitist, those on the university panels. Marc Coleman broadcaster and journalist ran as an Independent and received 772 first preference votes during his campaign to win a Trinity College Seanad seat. Which is actually more votes received than all of the elected administrative panel put together.
Everyone’s favourite catholic hate figure – Ronan Mullen received 6,459 first preference votes during the 2011 National University of Ireland Seanad elections, as an Independent. Mullen is the former Communications Officer for the Archdiocese of Dublin. In the Seanad he was a vociferous opponent of the protection of life during pregnancy bill and opposed the civil partnership bill which allowed same-sex couples enter in civil partnerships. There is a theory out there that every priest in Ireland that has a NUI degree votes for him, hence his comfortable election to the Seanad on both occasions.
The vast majority of people will never have seen these campaign leaflets before, you can read these and more from your local councillors and TD’s on Irish election Literature. Promises kept, promises broken and those in need of the services of a mental health professional.