Should we vote for the benefit of our local area or our nation?

February has been an awfully confusing month so far. I don’t really trust anyone, I don’t know about my future, and I certainly do not know who has my best interests in mind. I am not talking about my friends or acquaintances, I am talking about the potential TDs who are going to represent me and my constituency in Dail Eireann for the next five years.

Two weeks ago, I watched the first televised Leaders’ Debate, as it was my first chance to hear the head of the main political parties face-off in a core pillar of any given democracy before the upcoming General Election.

It was very intriguing to hear the different opinions and tussles between the fierce rivals. Admittedly, the debate was difficult to comprehend at times, with all four leaders talking over each other as the moderators made an attempt to keep the situation under control. However, it presented major national issues up to a group of people who could be calling the shots on our economy, international relations and society over the next five years.

However, I cannot vote for either of those representatives because they are not in my constituency, so that leaves me with my local candidates of County Waterford. Nine candidates are all vying for four seats, but that doesn’t help my cause on deciding who I want to represent me.

In my situation, I live in the second largest urban area in Waterford. My county is often split east/west when talking about GAA and political issues, and with Waterford city to the east and my local Dungarvan being in the west, you would think I have to consider a TD’s relationship with my own local area before anything else, right?

Well, maybe that is the case, but personally, my local candidates do not tickle my fancy. I have been very impressed with how many of the east candidates have represented my county in Dail Eireann and in the Councils, and this begs the question – should we be voting based on the performance of our TDs handling national issues, such as the economy and social crises that our country currently has? Or should we be focusing on how they are working to enhance our local areas with the power we are giving them?

Personally, I believe our political system is flawed in the sense that you may like a candidate based on their own personal merit and local interests, but the political party in which they are affiliated with may tarnish the way you look at them as a potential TD. I believe we need to see online applications such as Smartvote.ie and Whichcandidate.ie improve to remove the grey areas between these mentioned conflicts.

I do not know who I am going to vote for yet, and it’s going to take more than a few leaders’ debates to help me make up my mind.

 

Brein McGinn

Image Credit: The Telegraph

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