The Social Democrat’s candidate in the Dublin Bay South by-election has said politicians should live in the constituencies they are seeking to represent.
peaking at the launch of her campaign, Sarah Durcan said she has lived in the constituency for 27 years and said this gives her an advantage over candidates who are based in other parts of Dublin.
Ms Durcan said Dublin Bay South has its “idiosyncrasies” which only candidates living there would understand.
“You really do need to live in the area and know the people to be able to represent them,” she said. “That’s what politics is about – representing the area and it is difficult if you’re not living here.”
Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan, Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan and Fianna Fáil’s Deirdre Conroy do not live in Dublin Bay South but have put their names forward for the by-election.
Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall also noted that Ms Durcan “knows the area very well” having lived there for almost three decades
Ms Shortall insisted the by-election is “wide open” despite Fine Gael saying it is a two horse race between them and Sinn Féin.
“Nobody I think is putting money on any particular candidate and we believe that there’s everything to play for in this competition,” she added.
Ms Durcan said she has been working in the arts for 20 years and wants to bring a “different type of experience” to the Dáil. The Social Democrat candidate said the key issues raised during her canvasses are around housing and childcare.
She said it is “not right” that people are “paying a second mortgage” to have childcare for their children. Ms Durcan also said people are “fed up” waiting for a mortgage and rent controls.
She said there is a move towards centre left politics and the Social Democrats can
offer voters an alternative to the established parities. She described the social democrats as “something that comes from Europe but with an Irish flavour”.
“What people want is a government that cares for them and provides the basics,” she said. “We’re seeing in the current government a complete ideological position around housing, around healthcare, around the environment that just isn’t working.”
“We are seeing more and more people are coming to us from across the political spectrum and people who haven’t been involved in politics as at all,” she added.