“I still have a problem with Sinn Fein’s association with the past and I said to myself, the time Sinn Fein gets in, I would emigrate,” a Pairc Mhuire resident tells local election hopeful Mark Lynch of Sinn Fein on the doorstep last Wednesday in Pairc Mhuire in Newbridge.
“It is hard to get over Sinn Fein’s past for people of my generation,” said Tony Thorpe, adding he prefers to vote for personalities not parties these days.
Seemingly unfazed and quick to respond, Mark, an Athgarvan man, replies that Sinn Fein are all about the future nowadays.
“We are trying to move on with things,” said Mark. “While our past is still there we want to look forward to the future.”
The big issues for Tony include the new water charges and meter installation.
“We won’t be getting meters in here so we will be getting an estimated bill.
“I’m not happy with that but when you take on the State you don’t win. The town I feel plays second fiddle to Naas.
“The pay parking we are told brings in €1.2m but €900,000 of that goes out for administration costs. That seems like a huge amount and where does all that money go? It’s mad.”
Neighbour Shelia Conroy shares Tony’s anxiety about the water bills and lists other issues including parking and the lack of youth facilities for the town.
“This water thing - Pairc Mhuire can’t get meters because the stop cocks are at the back of the houses.
“We are going to stuck with an estimated bill and that could be anything. It could be up to €500 for a family at least.
“We are years campaigning for a skateboard park and we are still talking about the town hall.
“We have no swimming pool in Newbridge. Parking is another major problem there are days here when you can’t get in or out.
“One day my husband parked outside our house and got a ticket. I have no faith in Fine Gael and Labour went back on every thing. They must think we are stupid.”
Mark, who runs his own printing and office supplies business, responds that it is important to get a new team in and shake things up a little and ‘get new ideas in there’.
An elderly gentleman further up, who did not wish to give his name, tells Mark he would not vote for Sinn Fein if they were last on the list because of the politics of the party.
“Armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other - they haven’t changed,” he said. “I am very dissatisfied with everything it has been a failure up to now.”
Taking it in his stride Mark responded that times have changed.
“We are not going around making false promises,” he said. “It is about the future of our town and not the past.”
Lastly we catch a resident out mowing the lawn who says he is ‘happy enough’ with things.
“I have to give Sinn Fein a lot of marks,” he said. “I thought at one time I had no time for them but that has changed.