The diary of a first-time voter: What recovery are they talking about?

Last week both the student newspapers were running around campus collecting data on our elections. Our poll included a question on the general election.

The diary of a first-time voter: What recovery are they talking about?

I’ve had a look at our results, and there’s a fairly even mix of parties and Independents — I am surprised however by the strong representation of Fine Gael. Trinity News had about 22% students saying they would vote for the party. I saw the Irish Examiner’s video of UCC students talking about their political choices. Again, a lot of Fine Gael.

Why am I surprised? I suppose I just assumed everyone was as cynical about “keeping the recovery going” as me.

Did I miss the conversation in which we decided not to acknowledge the recovery of anything other than our economy? Was there a Skype conference call that I missed, where we decided not to talk about how our healthcare, education, and public transport systems are failing? Someone add me to the Facebook group chat where we decided not to discuss our striking Luas services and Institutes of Technology. Drug addiction and homelessness persist. Every time I see one of those posters it’s like someone has spat on my face. They tell me that so long as those numbers build back up, we can breeze past the fact that Ireland is suffering.

The manifestos are coming out. Thank goodness Labour mentioned repealing the Eighth Amendment.

Took me ages to find it in Fine Gael’s manifesto. They’ve given themselves a nice six months to set up a Citizens’ Assembly, to establish a “broad consensus” on the topic, which would then be “examined in detail by the Oireachtas, through an all-party committee with access to the appropriate medical and legal expertise”.

Nice. Lots of time to put off taking any real action so.

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Fine Gael haven’t put out the full version of their plan for university funding or fees — they’re waiting for the publication of the report of the government higher education working group. Was that the same working group that proposed an income-contingent loan scheme along with a cool €1,000 increase in the student contribution charge? No? At least they stuck in a manifesto point on “ensuring our young people meet their full potential”. And there was me thinking they were going to cripple us with student loans.

In other news, Eamon Ryan is having a gaff party-come-“neutral debating space” because RTÉ snubbed the Greens.

He says “we are calling on all other parties and Independents to join us” to gauge how “each party sees Ireland address the climate change challenge that we face”. Which, in fairness, sounds like sick banter.

“We will be asking other media and NGO outlets in the coming days if they are interested in facilitating such a discussion.”

Write this down lads — young people love NGOs. They don’t love housing crises. AAA-PBP’s Richard Boyd Barrett got it right when he said we won’t come back to Ireland.

Why would we if there’s nowhere to stay, and the Luas isn’t running?

Jessie's previous diaries

February 6: Politics is the study of power

February 10: Understanding, and confusion, is growing

February 13: My biggest political concern is climate change

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