AFTER his unsuccessful local election campaign, a prominent community activist has raised concern over the fact that the electorate in Limerick City East have no independent voice speaking for them in the Council chamber.
Jim Hickey of the Ballysimon Road, who ran for election as an Independent candidate in Limerick City East, claims that four out of every seven homes he canvassed said it preferred independent candidates to party political brands. Sinn Féin was the exception, but he says that the expressions of support on doorsteps last May for independents like himself never came to pass.
“All five independents in Limerick City East got a total of 1,445 first preference votes between them. That would be enough to elect one of them, if they could benefit from proportional representation and transfer of votes,” he explains.
On elimination, all five independents in City East reached 2,136 votes.
Standing for social justice, Mr Hickey claims he campaigned as an independent because he believes the party whip mentality is not socially just. Towing the line and not playing subordinate to party ideology if elected, is something that just didn’t sit right with him.
“Candidates have to sign up to this pledge before being selected by the Fianna Fail party. When the elections are over, pacts are agreed between parties with the highest number of seats to control the council for five years. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are examples here,” he declared.
Now that the local elections are over, he predicts a period of shameless self-promotion, at taxpayers expense, over the next five years, with coalition councillors busy getting themselves on to committees, boards and quangos.
“Greed sets in and promises to the electorate are soon forgotten. In general elections it’s the same. We have two ministers at present and Willie O’Dea outgoing, who have done nothing of major benefit for the city,” he said.