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Local Election Coverage

Article from The Irish Times (4/5/19) on Cabra-Glasnevin Local Election candidate, Declan Meenagh.

Local elections battleground: From dog poo to housing crisis

Politics starts with the local. In 2005, Declan Meenagh got his first taste of on-the-ground campaigning after Dublin City Council turned off audible signals at a number of traffic lights across the city.

Meenagh, who has only 5 per cent vision because of a rare eye condition, campaigned with other members of the blind community and got the decision reversed.

Some 14 years later he is running for a second time as a local election candidate in Cabra-Finglas. Everything he has learned since 2005 has convinced him that politics needs more people like him.

“It’s about having someone with a disability with lived experience on the council, who can clarify what small things need to be changed,” he tells The Irish Times on a wet morning this week in the centre of Cabra.

Running for Labour, Meenagh offers an example: the lack of standardised Braille markings on ATM keypads in Ireland causes confusion. “I can’t even independently use an ATM in this city,” he says. Yet it could be fixed in moments if someone in power decided it should.

Today, Meenagh is one of more than 1,800 people who have either been nominated or declared their intentions to run in the local elections later this month, according to latest estimates.

That is fewer than the 2,038 who ran in 2014. However, nominations remain open until midday on Saturday and the numbers will rise as the final hours and minutes pass.

Often regarded as a bellwether of the national mood, local elections can sometimes give a searing insight into the voters’ mood, offering an early provisional verdict on the future political prospects nationally.

Written by Simon Foy, Irish Times