Sheri­dan en­cour­aged by mes­sage on doorsteps

RE­PORTER DAVID MEDCALF JOINS SINN FEIN’S NOIRIN SHERI­DAN ON THE CAM­PAIGN TRAIL AS SHE BIDS FOR A COUNTY COUN­CIL SEAT

Enniscorthy Guardian - - ELECTIONCO­UNTDOWN -

‘I PICK the area for the night,’ ex­plained Sinn Féin di­rec­tor of elec­tions Martin Shee­han briskly – and on Fri­day evening, his pick was Pearse Road.

De­spite the fact that the cho­sen street is deep in ur­ban En­nis­cor­thy, there was no sign of the party’s town can­di­date. In­stead, while Johnny Mythen was given the night off to at­tend a work func­tion, it was left to county coun­cil can­di­date Noirín Sheri­dan to knock on the doors.

She was not ex­actly fly­ing solo, as Martin Shee­han (him­self a for­mer coun­cil­lor) set off with John Kenny and a pile of elec­tion lit­er­a­ture to cover part of the es­tate. This left Noirín to pa­trol the re­main­der of the houses with Colm Don­agher - at what turned out to be a snail’s pace.

Cllr. Sheri­dan may be leav­ing the town be­hind (po­lit­i­cally speak­ing) and hop­ing to make the switch to Wex­ford County Coun­cil but, as an out­go­ing mem­ber of the Town Coun­cil, she is al­ready fairly well known down Pearse Road way. And fa­mil­iar­ity in her case breeds not so much con­tempt as a de­sire to have con­ver­sa­tion.

Candidates re­ally love to call on houses such as the one where the woman of the house de­clared im­me­di­ately, clearly and un­am­bigu­ously, without be­ing asked: ‘You’ll get six num­ber ones here.’ The whole op­er­a­tion took no more than twenty sec­onds, in­clud­ing time spent walk­ing be­tween gate and door.

How­ever, the un­flap­pable Noirín was more than happy to spend a few min­utes more with Paddy Mur­phy and his wife Kath­leen Mur­phy, for in­stance, as Paddy de­clared loy­alty to Sinn Féin that pre­dates the cou­ple’s mar­riage in 1959.

And other vot­ers had health care, hous­ing or other mat­ters they wished to raise at length with the lady who needs to dou­ble (at least) the 727 num­ber ones she at­tracted the last time out five years ago, when she did bet­ter than Ray Keogh in 1999. Keep­ing the graph head­ing up is a ma­jor chal­lenge but Martin Shee­han notes that the party is not re­ceiv­ing the maul­ing on the can­vass that Fianna Fáil is suf­fer­ing.

‘She has a higher pro­file now,’ points out Colm Don­agher, stand­ing back while the can­di­date engages in yet an­other heart to heart, ‘but she has a huge amount of ground to make up.’ Colm says he has been in­volved in Sinn Féin all his life, com­mit­ted to the agenda of so­cial­ism and equal­ity. This is his first Wex­ford cam- paign for the cause he has laboured for in the past on both sides of the Bor­der as well as in Bri­tain.

The can­di­date her­self says she finds it very hard to lis­ten to the tales of hard­ships in­flicted by cut­backs. She says there is no com­par­i­son be­tween the at­mos­phere on the stomp in 2004 and the mood in 2009: ‘We are get­ting a re­ally great re­cep­tion – whether it will trans­late into votes is an­other mat­ter. Peo­ple are say­ing they’ll vote for me or some­one else this time - but not Fianna Fáil.’

ALL THE WAY TO NUM­BER 10: Cllr. Noirín Sheri­dan and party sup­port­erColm Don­agher dur­ing their can­vass of Pearse Road in En­nis­cor­thy.

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