We are just four days before the General Election so Ireland Today writer Barry Lord and photographer Ioan Hiliuta took to the streets of St Stephen’s Green to capture the people’s perspective ahead of the polls on Friday.
Plenty of shoppers were happy to share their views and reveal what parties they are backing to apply the right remedies for the country’s ills – from the crisis in the health service, the 8th Amendment, and economic recovery.
Cork native Paul was rushing back to his family home to pick up his voting card but stopped to offer his views on the way.
“Mick Barry from the Socialist Party, will be getting my vote,” said Paul.
If you make a promise, you have to deliver. I remember being told Cork Medical Centre (CMC) would never close, but it did in 2011. These are things people don’t forget.
A liquidator was appointed to the €90 million private hospital in Cork, which closed in March of that year with the loss of 73 jobs just five months after opening with the promise of creating up to 500 staff positions.
The hospital closed after VHI made the decision not to approve the hospital for private healthcare cover, which was essential to its survival in the market.
The hospital had closed with unsecured liabilities of over €5 million, including €3.5 million owed to the company behind the project, Sheehan Medical Ltd.
Patrick Flynn, the brother of Mannix Flynn, candidate for Dublin Bay South, carried a placard with the image of his brother under his arm.
Patrick said: It’s the people who should be looked after. This country has to be put back on its feet.
“We don’t need new roads for people in government to drive their fancy cars.
“The fancy cars have to go. We haven’t got the money to fill their cars.
“The coalition has made positive changes in many ways. It would be a shame to see the good work undone.”
John Macklin, of Dublin Bay South, spoke unequivocally when asked which party would be getting his vote.
“I’m voting Social Democrats,” said John.
I’m in favour of repealing the 8th amendment, and for keeping taxes as they are and investing in public services. And I believe the three candidates have real integrity.
Married Dublin couple Pat and John Brennan were equally affirmative. “We’re for Fianna Fail. The country needs a party that puts people before profit,” said John.
Pat added: Any party that’ll scrap the water charges and get rid of property tax is a party worth listening to.
Some others were in favour of the status quo, like Kathleen O’Sullivan and her two friends, Rita Behan and Helen Hennessey, of Dublin 6 and 8.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for the job the coalition has done,” said Kathleen.
“People are quick to forget the mess the country was in. The economy was in a dreadful state, families lost their homes, and it was terrible.”
I want to see rent caps applied and the country generally getting back on its feet, said Rita.
“And telephone rates are far too high, especially for the elderly.”
Helen’s chief concern was health care. She said: “Hospitals should be a priority, whoever the next government happens to be.”
“There’s been a serious decline in standards over the years. There’s a lot to be said for the nuns and how they ran our hospitals. The work they did was incredible.”
Helen added: Children’s well-being is very important and they should have the best facilities. Neglect of the elderly is another issue that is often ignored.
When the name ‘Sinn Fein’ was mentioned, Helen concluded by stating: “If they (Sinn Fein) get in, they’ll turn us into a third world country.”
The possibility of Sinn Fein making strides in the polls was a concern shared by Dubliner Tom, who declined to give his surname.
“I’m in favour of the current government retaining power,” said Tom. “But I’m terrified of the idea of Sinn Fein becoming the main opposition party. I’m prepared to vote strategically to ensure that Fianna Fail is the main opposition, not Sinn Fein.”