General Election 26th February 2016
Last night I watched the leaders debate on RTE1. I had missed the previous three and wanted to make sure I didn’t miss this one. With only three days to go to the General Election 2016 I still didn’t know who to vote for. The four main party leader’s were on:
Fine Gael-Enda Kenny (our current Taoiseach)
Labour-Joan Burton (our current Tánaiste)
Fianna Fail-Micheál Martin
Sinn Fein-Gerry Adams
I hoped the debate would make it clear who I should vote for. I was wrong. After an hour and a half of listening to the four of them throw out figures and policies, I went to bed as confused as I was before. I’m not particularly interested in politics on a day to day basis but I always make sure to vote. I know I’m not the only one like this. So when all the parties contradict each other, how do you know who to route for?
Why is it different this time?
For the first time since I have been able to vote in local elections, general elections and referendums, I am stumped. The country is in a bad way, not just financially, but socially and with a huge lack of morale. Should we “keep the recovery going” with Fine Gael and Labour (if you feel there is a recovery happening)? Should we give the reins back to Fianna Fail, who for decades kept the country steady before the recession? Or should we take a chance and let a different party in and vote Sinn Fein?
They say voting for Independents is a wasted vote because they will never get enough votes to make a difference in the Dail. They say people under 30 don’t remember the Troubles that Sinn Fein are associated with but that we shouldn’t forget. FG & Labour are telling us they will do this and that when they have had five years to do it and haven’t. Fianna Fail were in the height of the recession and made some big errors. People are saying wouldn’t it be great for Sinn Fein to be in Government for the centenary of 1916, how poetic.
They say you can’t trust politicians, that they all lie to get a seat. That’s true. So how do you decide who’s lying least?
I have two more days to figure out what to do, but I will say this; I will be voting. And you should too. No matter what way you decide to go, the point is you exercise your right to vote. After all, the leaders of 1916 fought and died to give you that right, among others. Don’t think your vote can make a difference? In 1995, the Divorce Referendum was held. The Yes side got 50.28% and the No side got 49.72%. Lads, that’s less than 1% in the difference. Believe me, your vote matters.
A lot of young people never voted before the Equality Referendum last year. They simply don’t have an interest in politics. There was a huge surge in young people voting last May because it was something important to them. People flew home from all over the world to have their voice heard. But politics is just as important. And the Yes side in the Equality referendum won by a massive 62.07%. We became the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage by popular vote. Isn’t that great? Make sure you’re heard again this Friday. Because if you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain about the government for the next five years.
And I for one won’t be listening to ya complain!