MART MEETING Senator Rose Conway-Walsh met up with her former colleague on Mayo County Council, former Fine Gael and now Independent councillor, John O’Malley at Ballinrobe Mart while canvassing last week. Pic: Michael Donnelly
Sinn Féin General Election candidate Rose Conway-Walsh believes this election is ‘completely different from any other she has contested’ and feels the Mayo electorate are ready to vote for change.
The latest Sunday Business Post Red C opinion poll showed Sinn Féin tied for first place with Fianna Fáil on 24 percent and three percentage points ahead of Fine Gael. The poll also showed that Sinn Féin are on 29 percent in the Connacht/Ulster region, six ahead of Fianna Fáil in second place and nine ahead of Fine Gael.
If replicated in the General Election it would put Senator Rose Conway-Walsh in with a strong change to take a first Sinn Féin seat in Mayo since the 1920s. Speaking to The Mayo News on Monday, Senator Conway-Walsh said she was happy with the response she is getting at the doors across Mayo and believes that this time the electorate is ready for change.
“I could see from day one of this campaign that people were up for real change. I started my canvass in Castlebar and on the first day I thought there was something strange here and that was consistent right across the county … people seemed to be up for change. It is completely different [from other campaigns]. I find the electorate are more confident and more focused and at this stage it would seem to me people are willing to vote for change,” she said.
“People feel excluded by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and are looking at Sinn Féin as the only ones on our sides. Our clear message to voters to give workers and families a break has resonated with people. People can’t take anymore and that is what people of all ages are saying to me.”
Third general election
This will be the third general election Senator Conway-Walsh has contested having run in both the 2011 and 2016 elections. She had been tipped by many to have a chance of contesting the last seat in 2016 but she disappointed with only 6,414 first preference votes.
Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin after the election and claim that the party’s economic policy will drive investment out of the country. Senator Conway-Walsh replied by saying that trying to frighten the electorate was not going to work this time around.
“People understand better and understand the tactics of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of trying to scare people because they know that the only way to control a nation is to make them afraid. They know our economic policies have been costed and sustainable and people have confidence in Pearse Doherty on finance and the economy.”
She said the main issues on the doorsteps in Mayo were agriculture, health and pensions and any government they would enter after the election would have to have a programme for government that would serve the people of Mayo and rural Ireland.
“We will talk to anyone who would be interested in a programme for government which will serve the people. We are not in the business of ruling anyone out [of government],” she concluded.