Glowing reception for Micheál Martin on the streets of Wexford

Either the people of Wexford town love Micheál Martin or they love the cameras - either way the Fianna Fáil leader got a glowing reception in the Labour stronghold this afternoon.

Glowing reception for Micheál Martin on the streets of Wexford

Either the people of Wexford town love Micheál Martin or they love the cameras - either way the Fianna Fáil leader got a glowing reception in the Labour stronghold this afternoon.

From the women in the wool shop to the man in the shoe store, the Cork politician wasn't short of friends or promises of votes.

Grace O'Mahoney from Crafty Wool Shop wanted her widow's pension sorted out - was she a third of a widow, half a widow or a full widow she asked Micheál.

"A full widow. Point taken," replied the Fianna Fáil leader.

"Point taken," replied Ms O'Mahoney, who knits clothes for the homeless and sends them to Brother Kevin in the Capuchin Centre in Dublin.

Other points being made included a request that Wexford not be forgotten.

Well-known local businessman John Rath of Shoe Style International, in between dispensing advice on what leather would best sustain Micheál on the campaign trail, canvassed for his town and county to matter in the Dáil.

"This guy is going to be so busy on the road and in Europe but you have to think of Wexford," said Mr Rath, who added that Marty Morrissey was a loyal customer of his.

Life outside of Dublin mattering was a common theme in Wexford.

"It's about time we had somebody decent here in Wexford to look after everything for us, because really and truly we've had nobody for years. We are a forgotten county," Pauline Davey told the Irish Examiner, just after she had been canvassed by Micheál and the local Fianna Fáil candidate, councillor Lisa McDonald in Dunnes Stores.

Outside the supermarket, Micheál had a quick debrief with waiting media about the issues that had just crossed his canvassing path.

"There's a very strong sense in the south east that it's being left behind when it comes to the Government and that the Fine Gael-led Government is very Dublin-centric," Micheál said.

Further along Wexford Main Street the issue of pensions, and not Dublin-centricity, rose its head again, this time in the Book Centre where canvassing was a bit more low key as shoppers tried to enjoy the peace and quiet of the local bookshop.

"I was self-employed and paid all my stamps for 40 years and then I make 65 and I'm told I have to wait until I'm 66," an on-the-fence voter told Micheál.

"The issue of pensions has come up before," the Fianna Fáil leader replied.

Out on the street, pensions were the furthest thing from people's minds as 16-year-old Omar Karmass charmed passers-by with his saxophone playing.

Micheál gave the teen busker a paper note for his work and local candidate Lisa tried her lung strength at the brass instrument.

But the few bob and the few notes were wasted on the too-young-to-vote musician.

Would he vote Fianna Fáil in two years' time though?

"I don't know anything about it," said Omar.

And then the cameras stopped rolling, the media left and the crowds dispersed but Micheál, with no one watching, walked up to a homeless man, said a few words and gave him a few coins for his cup too.

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