Knock out punch avoided

By Maurice Garvey

THERE was talk of throwing punches but alas, no actual punches thrown, during the Liffey Sound FM Town Hall forum at Adamstown Community Centre on Tuesday night.

Vulture funds, anti-social activity and pensions were among the topics swirling around, and while on the surface it was a civilised forum, the final week of GE 2020 will surely land a knockout swipe for Dáil hopefuls in the running for Dublin Mid West.

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Residents at the meeting on Tuesday evening

Residents in Lucan got the opportunity to meet most of their candidates and discovered a few were not exactly A1 students in their youth, courtesy of a question from the floor surrounding the Green Party proposal to scrap school homework.

Nine of the 12 Dublin Mid West candidates showed up for the town hall debate.

The only absentees were Emer Higgins (FG), Catriona McClean (FF) and David Gardner (Indp), a fireman who was working on Tuesday night.

It is good to see a public servant like Gardner standing for election, but it must make canvassing and nights like this a nightmare for someone working shifts - putting them at a serious disadvantage to engage the electorate.

One of the biggest laughs was reserved for a question by a resident on whether candidates would employ family members as parliamentary support staff.

“I would put them all (applicants) in the car park and have a big fight,” quipped Green Party Cllr Peter Kavanagh before reverting to a standard answer, which did not involve a battle royale.

For the record, the candidates were against hiring family members, including sitting TD’s Curran and Ó Broin, who declared their assistants were hired through neutral competitions.

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Eddie and Terry at the meeting on Tuesday night in Adamstown

Cllr Paul Gogarty, a former TD, acknowledged the need for an assistant who knows the geographical area they represent and “politics is all about who you can trust.”

TD Ó Broin expressed the need to reform expenses, including unvouched, “because money for staff and expenses comes from the one account.”

Liffey Sound broke the night up into two parts – staggering the candidates into two separate forums, to facilitate a clearer debate, and it worked well.

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Noeleen, Maura and Mary

Presenter Maria Murphy chaired the event, with assistance on the floor by freelance journalist Tomás Douglas and Station Manager Mairéad Cullen.

A Brexit question revealed it is not the most pressing issue coming up on the doors for candidates, albeit they agreed trade negotiations are the next big step.

The big election topics of housing and healthcare got a decent airing, and while candidates outlined feasible party proposals, they are likely to remain complex no matter who is elected.

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