Council Affairs: Sleepy councillors arise for elections

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

AREN’T local politicians great really? Not a peep out of most of them in the last four and a half years and then, 10 weeks out from the local elections, all of a sudden they have the whole world put to rights.

They are in hibernation mode for the first 54 months of their term and then they come out all guns blazing on the run up to election day.

There they are, hoarding their nuts for the last four years and before you know it they’re grinning down at you from lampposts once more.

The long slumber does them the world of good, mind you – it gets them all riled up.

Once alert, they can sniff out a newspaper photographer while blindfolded with their little pointing fingers already wagging for the cameras.

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That said, even the councillors who managed to stay awake this local authority term will still have their work cut out for them in this day and age.

The next number of weeks is going to be squeaky bum time for many of them. It will all come down to the magic tricks in their armoury and what they can pull out of their hats to try and hoodwink voters (we really are a gullible lot).

Smoke and mirrors is the name of the game from this point on. If they can just fool us long enough to secure their comfy seat for another term, they will be on the pig’s back once more and to hell with your buses, bicycles, potholes, and street lights.

Right now, councillors, many of them at least, are more animated than they have been since the last local elections. They are taking no prisoners and calling on the council for this, the National Transport Authority for that, and the laddies in Government Buildings for everything else.

Still, just as long as they can give the appearance of being busy, shuffling around like headless chickens, there’s every chance they can get back to their old tricks after June 7.

There’s councillors I haven’t heard say 10 words in the last five years, and some who don’t bother turning up at all, and even some of these we may see reelected.

The new directly-elected mayor, who will be elected on the same day as our 40 council members, will be clutching the purse strings in City Hall next September, but, of course, someone else in central government will be yanking theirs.

The DEM is unlikely to have half the power that some candidates believe the job comes with. Politics, though, can be a Machiavellian game so it is going to be a serious wake up call.

How they work with elected representatives will also play a huge part, crucial even, in how successful the role turns out to be.

One thing is for sure, the head monkey will have to share their bananas with the rest of the troop or they will have a mutiny on their hands. This lot can be as unruly as a classroom full of four year olds after a couple of glasses of MiWadi.

The appetite for local elections and even for a DEM, at this point, is barely palpable, but whatever the outcome — there will be fun times ahead.