His constituency may border that of the Healy-Raes, but it’s chalk and cheese when it comes to canvassing tactics.

“Instead of gimmickry I focus on face-to-face campaigns,” said councillor Aindrias Moynihan (FF) as he emerged from his constituency office in Ballincollig.

It’s a town he knows he has to do well in to have a chance of grabbing a second seat for his party in Cork North-West. To bolster the local canvass he’s brought in the big-hitting Michael McGrath TD who believes there’s a real chance FF can pull that off. “Ballincollig is where that will be won or lost. We’ve done traditionally well in the town, especially when Batt O’Keeffe was to the fore,” he said.

Ann Twoney, a full-time carer, complained there was nothing for carers in the last budget. “They’re all promising everything now. I don’t believe the promises and I’m undecided at present,” she said.

Niall O’Connor said he had always voted FF and was prepared to give them another chance. “I couldn’t bring myself to vote for FG or SF,” he added.

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In Macroom, Aindrias canvassed the local market, bumping into former FG town councillor Breda McCarthy at her vegetable stall. “We’re neighbours so I will look after him with a vote [but didn’t give a preference]. We must look after our own,” she said.

There was no No 1 from stall-holder Caroline Robinson, a Green voter. “I haven’t decided my preferences after that. I’d a say a lot of people are like me and will make their minds up at the last minute.”

Tomas Murphy, who runs a timber business in Kilnamartyra, said his issue was the huge taxation of middle-income earners and said a bypass of Macroom was a priority.

In the village of Carrigadrohid, postmaster Ted Dunne and his wife Noreen bemoaned the huge cost of running a small shop in rural Ireland. Ted pointed to a tiny space reserved for selling wine. He said he pays €500 a year to Revenue for a licence. “I wrote a letter to the taxman and enclosed a picture and got no reply. I’m sure the bigger businesses don’t pay much more for a licence,” he said.

“We can’t compete with the bigger stores,” Noreen told Aindrias.

The 42-year-old married father of four comes from a long line of politicians. His grandfather, Jamie, was a War of Independence hero, serving on the county council from 1928-1970. His father, Donal, took over the council seat and served many years in the Dáil. Aindrias moved into it in 2003.

He says he occasionally gets it in the neck about FF’s last time in charge, but maintains most people know it was a global meltdown. “I started canvassing last summer. We need to do someting about high rents in Ballincollig and the lack of housing. People are as mad as hell about roads in the countryside and broadband. These are issues we have to address,” he said.

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