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
‘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.