ELECTION - Home town canvass for Leixlip independent

THERE was an unusual quietness in River Forest last Wednesday, 30 April.

THERE was an unusual quietness in River Forest last Wednesday, 30 April.

Bernard Caldwell, long time Town Councillor, is canvassing in what was once the largest housing estates in the county.

A long time Fianna Fail member, he was not selected by the party to run at their convention but has decided to go as an independent.

The long time chairperson of the Leixlip Festival and the Christmas lights committee he has served on various committees in the locality over the years, including chairing the Scoil San Carlo Parents Association.

Earlier in the day, the candidate, an avid horse lover, attended at Punchestown. He did not gamble on anything, he said.

Chelsea are due to start play Atletico Madrid in the European Champions League semi-final, 45 minutes after the canvass begins in the area close to to the shopping centre.

A huge number of doors do not open and nobody seems to be in. A lot of houses are rented, something which his canvass team found in the Rinawade area of west Leixlip.

Many publish the legend - no junk mail.

Bernard does not consider his leaflet to be junk mail.

The responses are varied as he reminds citizens of his years of voluntary local work.

Very few policy issues are raised during the canvass. The issues are local, he tell folk.

One man gets angry with one of the four supporting canvassers, Teresa Tiernan, over a variety of issues including property charges. He told her he was a prisoner in his own house over Halloween, possibly a reference to celebrations on the large green bowl area.

Quite a few know him well - he’s been in Leixlip for 30 years - and some verbally promised number 1 and were very friendly.

“How’s your husband?” he asked one woman. “He’s grand. Sure he’s married to me why wouldn’t he be,” she laughed.

Another friendly face chimes in, laughing: “What can you do for me? Then she tells him: “I’m going in, Chelsea are playing. Give my husband some of the work.”

Bernard asks her to ask the rest of the family to support him. Her face screws up a trifle. She is not so sure, it seems.

A man walking his dog is blunt. “No, I won’t be voting at all. They’re all the same.” The dog said nothing.

Another woman, very polite, tells Bernard she has promised her No. 1 to a red haired girl, who is Fianna Fail’s Grainne Whelan.

Bernard doesn’t give up and asks that, if so, he would get the second one.

Another woman does have an issue. She has children and does not drive. She wants a children’s playground in the area. There is one at the Amenities Centre and at St. Catherine’s Park. “It is a long walk,” she said.

Bernard tells her he won’t promise anything.

He tells another resident that he has left Fianna Fail. “It’s about time. You can rely on us,” she said.