A GENERAL Election takes place on Saturday, February 8 and the hopefuls, both party faithful and independents are on the last leg of their hustings, as the election quickly approaches.
They will be knocking on as many doors as possible this week, as the day for voting looms. So to help you be prepared then they turn up on the door step, with a smile, thrusting a leaflet in your hand, here are 33 suggested questions to ask people running for the 33rd Dáil.
1. How many posters have you put up? Are they biodegradable? Did you tie them to lamp posts with plastic cable ties? This will immediately give you a sense of where they stand on climate issues.
2. Related to above how many glossy leaflets will they distribute in your area. Can these be recycled? What is the estimated cost of printing all these leaflets and then the estimated cost of disposing of them?
3. Sticking with climate, how many miles will they travel during the length of the campaign? Do they drive diesel, petro, electric, or hybrid?
4. When will a complete and enforceable smokeless fuel ban come into effect in my area?
5. What is their policy towards the all-island pollinator plan which is trying to save bees and boost biodiversity?
6. How many derelict council properties are there in my town? Why have they not been refurbished and offered to homeless families.
7. If elected, will you speak out about the number of ministers and junior ministers who go off on junkets for Paddy’s Day usually involving thousands of air miles. Think about the carbon footprint.
8. Will you ban weed killers?
9. When will you restore the public service pay cuts imposed ten years ago?
10. When will there be high speed broadband in my area? An exact date, not a
fluff about years in the future or other such nonsense.
11. Did you see the huge crater of a pothole on the road you travelled to get here? When will it be filled in and will you pay for my puncture repairs.
12. Do you have a clear vision and policy for the flood defences needed for Cork City. What is it exactly? Again no fudging please.
13. Will you and your family holiday overseas this year. Have you calculated the carbon footprint of that?
14. When will you extend universal health care to all? This was promised over ten years ago. What will fund this?
15. Will you increase home care hours? 30 minutes is barely enough time to greet a person, let alone make a meaningful intervention in their day.
16. Are you aware of the number of young people without a place in their preferred secondary school in my town? What are you going to do about it?
17. How many guards are there in my town? How many go out on foot, or bike each day? I never see any in my estate and I know fine well there’s drugs been dealt here. What measures can you take to alleviate this?
18. What do you plan to do to rid us of the two tier health care system where those with insurance and/or money do not have to spend 48 hours on a hard trolley in A&E?
19. Why are there no paediatrician endocrinologists and no paediatrician nephrologists in Cork, the biggest county in Ireland? Why is there only one paediatric psychiatrist? How many public child phycologists are there in Cork? What is the waiting list to have my child assessed by one of them?
20. What do you believe is the optimum number in a primary school class? What is your position on giving children homework?
21. How many people in Cork are living in temporary accommodation, and how would you solve this problem?
22. There are three new estates being built in my area, all in private ownership. I thought every developer had to include so many social housing units in every estate they build.
23. When will you put an end to direct provision and what will you put in its place?
24. The insurance industry in Ireland is in a mess and many local places of entertainment and business have had to close. What plans have you to regulate the industry and bring down premiums?
25. My local property tax increased this year though my income did not. Yet we still don’t have a six day library service which we did have ten years ago. I thought local property tax was to provide this kind of local service. Why isn’t it doing so in my area?
26. We are the only country in Europe that doesn’t have joined up transport between rail bus and airport links at any of the airports in this country. What can you do to change that?
27. How much funding will be allocated to the arts this year? Will you advocate increasing this funding?
28. Will you ensure Lyric FM won’t be closed down?
29. What is your policy about the export of live animals overseas? Should they not be slaughtered here before export?
30. Can you promise that, however many students need a special assistant to attend school, they will be allocated one without having to jump through hoops?
31. When I write to you via snail mail, email, or social media, will you respond, will you delegate it to some anonymous faceless minion, or just ignore me?
32. Will you support and increase the overseas aid budget?
33. Will you come in for a cuppa so we can talk about all the above?