Posted by in Features.

This is a response to a Letter to the Editor from last week by Councillor Nuala Nolan, which you can find here.

Dear Editor,

In the editorial of the Galway Independent on Wednesday 26th of February, you ask a very pertinent question in discussing the local elections, “Is the €460,000 spent on Galway City Councillors in 2012 a good use of pubic funds?” In an excellent letter written by Councillor Nuala Nolan further on in the paper, she highlights the problems an “underdog” candidate has in trying to get elected from financial and time consuming perspectives. She makes the valid point “it is about having the right people there, not necessarily the toughest.”

How can Galway citizens ensure the right candidates are elected to justify the extraordinary expenses they incur? Let me offer my own pearls of wisdom, which people should bear in mind on polling day. Local elections are very different to national elections, despite the saying that all politics is local. Party loyalty doesn’t play as big a part simply because local politicians are more visible, or at least they should be, in their local communities.

People need to ask themselves how often they have seen their local representative attend activities in their local areas. I’m not talking about the photo shoot opportunities some of our local representatives indulge in, simply to get their picture in the local paper. Are they active in their local area at the coal face of everyday life in a bustling city such as ours? Voters need to educate themselves on the track records of new candidates [in terms] of previous involvement in their local communities such as volunteering, advocating for or protesting against issues of concern to citizens.

Voters should not be afraid to ask people where they stand on particular issues and more importantly what they have done in a particular area in the past. In this country we have enough people paying lip service to certain issues, which at the end of the day just frustrates genuine people who often work on issues behind the scenes and never seek public recognition. Let their past actions be an indication of future actions. People need to educate themselves on the candidates running and go out and vote. There will be a myriad of candidates running in the upcoming elections, many of them underdogs and relatively unknown. Please just don’t dismiss them because you know little about them.

You owe it to yourself and your community to elect the right candidates.

Thomas Roddy,
78 Lower Salthill,