- 07 Feb 20
Musician Emma Langford discusses her concerns this election term and her candidate pick
Nailing your colours to the mast: it’s a vulnerable place to find yourself as an independent artist, on the verge of releasing a second album, and with a need on the horizon for local financial support. Silence, however, quickly becomes complicity.
I’ve watched the ever-rising tally of people on trolleys in the regional hospital in Limerick; viruses spread, people die. Empty promises are made about free GP visits, but our GPs are already overworked. Primary care is sorely under-resourced and, as a result, lacking.
Citizens of the country I live in and love are being ignored, even as they struggle with mental health issues, debt, homelessness and racism, as well as lack of recognition of their basic rights, their beliefs, their gender. We’re forced to emigrate for some quality of life. Our mincéir community suffer at the hands of a government who don’t care about the needs of these minority constituents.
Money is pumped into the Irish greyhound industry, while our animal rescues suffer. Our homeless services just scrape by with the help of community donations; drug reform is still a distant dream; and schools and hospitals countrywide remain in thrall to the Catholic church, negating the standard of education and healthcare available.
My country has been crippled by an endless seesaw between parties that demonstrate no love or respect for – or understanding of – the people they govern, and though it’s clearly well past time for change, people in rural communities are limited by their options. On a national scale some of the policies being touted by certain independent candidates may seem laughable, but they’re the people on the ground actually getting things done for these communities, and community is what Irish politics should be about. The lack of late-night transport in rural Ireland is a shocking oversight. Our Dublin-centric government has overlooked the daily needs of its people.
I’m giving my first preference to brand new Social Democrats candidate, Jenny Blake. I trust her to work hard for Limerick; she is consistent and community-focused. Putting it bluntly, she gives a shit.
She’s worked on the front-line for homeless and addiction services in Limerick.
She understands the needs and shortfalls in education, having worked in our University.
She’s not afraid to speak truth to power.
She campaigned for Repeal and Marriage Equality, and she wants a better Ireland for everyone. She loves Limerick.
I hope you, reading Hot Press, will research your local candidates, find one that aligns with your own values, and vote responsibly. Ireland can and will change for the better, but only if we can collectively become more socially conscious, and work together toward fairer, and more inclusive communities.