No stopping Labour senator on flight from door to door

Story by John Donohoe

Wednesday, 23rd February, 2011 4:47pm

No stopping Labour senator on flight from door to door

Dominic Hannigan meets a voter in Carrig Dun, Kells.

There was a cartoon character some years back, Speedy Gonzalez, who flitted at high speed from one spot to the next. Trying to keep up with Dominic Hannigan in Kells on Friday reminded the Meath Chronicle of the speedy animation. The Labour senator was flitting from one team of canvassers to another, attempting to ensure that he got to chat to everyone that opened a door to his party workers.

Local councillor Tommy Grimes headed up a team of up to 10 door knockers out with Hannigan in Kells on a dull and inclement Friday afternoon. The cold of the day, however, was comforted by the warmth of the reception the candidate got on most doorsteps. But then, this was friendly Labour country, or most of it was. St Colmcille's Villas, Fr McCullen Park, all areas where old Labour families lived, as well as newer areas like Carrig Dun and estates on the Cavan Road.

In St colmcille's Villas, he was wlercomed by Mary Mulvany, whose father James Keogh was the first Labour councillor in the Kells electoral area. He was a member of the Ballinlough Land Back to the People campaign and brought Jim Connell, author of 'The Red Flag', the Labour party anthem, back to Ballinlough in 1918.

Jimmy Murray, first chairman of the Kells Council of Trade Unions in 1974, and his wife Eilish, also welcomed Senator Hannigan.

The canvas had been going well for Hannigan over recent days, the candidate says in between houses.

"More people are making up their minds. Not necessarily in our favour, but we're getting some of them."

Some in Kells on Friday wanted 'change'. Others wanted new windows. There were others who had live through many economic crises and recessions, and wondered what all the fuss was about. There were those running businesses who had concerns. One man, a retired public servant, asked that we leave him with the candidate for a moment, as he wanted to have a private discussion with him.

In Fr McCullen Park, Tommy Grimes joked: "We won't try that one - you mightn't get a vote there."

It was his own house, so we hope he was joking!

A number of houses with 'I'm Backing Byrne' posters backing Fianna Fail TD Thomas Byrne were also skipped. Later on, a Fianna Fail activist walked by the Labour group.

"Ye picked a bad day for it lads," he remarked. A Sinn Fein house on the Cavan Road, bedecked with Michael Gallagher posters, was visited.

"There's room under that poster for a Labour one," laughed Hannigan, pointing to a space between Gallagher posters and literature pasted on the glass.

It was friendly banter, but also serious stuff, as every vote counts, not just the first preferences.

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