Posters up for 26 County elections
Posters up for 26 County elections


Campaigning is well under way ahead of the local and European elections in the 26 Counties, the first such elections in five years.

In two weeks, on June 7, voters in the South go to the polls to elect nearly 949 councillors to 31 local councils, as well as 14 MEPs to represent three Euro constituencies.

If opinion polls are correct, Sinn Fein is set to make substantial gains on its poor result in 2019, potentially doubling its council seats and gaining three seats or more in Brussels.

With only one MEP currently, it is fielding two candidates in each Euro constituency and is widely expected to take a seat in each.

Much will depend on transfers, particularly for the Euro elections where there are 73 candidates for the 14 seats, the great majority of them currently polling between 1% and 5%.

Housing, homelessness and the desperate shortage of accommodation remains the biggest issue for voters, according to the polls.

Sinn Féin is set to be the main beneficiary of public anger at the failure of successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments to match the public need for social housing, with a recent report showing the state as a whole now needing over a quarter of a million additional homes beyond those already planned in order to meet demand.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin, has said that ‘only a Sinn Féin government can deliver a radical reset of housing policy’.

The Dublin Mid-West TD was responding to the damning criticism of government housing policy contained in the final report of the Housing Commission, a government-appointed body.

The report accused the government of a failure to treat housing as a priority and noted that despite having one of the highest levels of public expenditure for housing, Ireland has one one of the poorest outcomes.

The second issue on the minds of the public is anger over the government’s failure to manage immigration.

Large numbers of refugees who have been accepted into Ireland have found themselves homeless and on the streets, gathering in makeshift tent cities which are being periodically broken up by the Irish authorities.

Amid shameful scenes of abject misery, sites of official refugee accommodation have generated local protests which have been exploited by British, loyalist and native Irish agitators for their own political agendas.

Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín has called for a “common sense” approach to immigration. Aontú is fielding a candidate in each Euro constituency, and its best chance is with Mr Tóibín himself in the sprawling Midlands-North-West constituency.

He has condemned the EU Migration Pact and the general immigration policy of the coalition government, which he described “a disaster”.

Speaking recently in the Dáil, he said: “You have failed consistently to differentiate between those who need help and those who don’t”.

He said his party had discovered that in the last 5 years, 85% of those who received a deportation order never had it actioned.

“We found out that last year 5,000 people came through Dublin airport with no travel documents. We found out that the government is not even asking 75% of asylum seekers how they came into the country. Now you seek to outsource management of immigration to the EU”.

Republican Socialists are also likely to lend support to left-wing election candidates put forward by People before Profit and in the European elections, two sitting independent MEPs Clare Daly in Dublin and Mick Wallace in Ireland South. Both have been consistently vociferous in their denunciations of the EU’s support for the Israeli genocide and the militarisation and centralisation of the bloc.

In the local elections, Sinn Féin is fielding a record 335 candidates, Aontú has 66 candidates, while Republican Sinn Féin’s veteran campaigner Tomás Ó Curraoin is bidding to hold his seat on Galway County Council.

There are more than 500 independent council candidates, including republican candidates such as sitting councillor Michael Mac Giolla Easbuig in Donegal, as well as 200 “pro-Irish” and “Irish patriot” candidates campaigning on the issue of immigration.

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