Any céad míle fáilte for Galway’s paper candidates spreading fear?


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Any céad míle fáilte for Galway’s paper candidates spreading fear? Any céad míle fáilte for Galway’s paper candidates spreading fear?

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The number of ‘paper’ candidates in this year’s Local Elections to Galway City and County Council appears greater than any other.

By ‘paper’, we mean, they’re not serious candidates, canvassing on the ground, working, and living in the communities they wish to represent. Rather, they’re parachuted in, often under a party banner, to mop-up anti-immigrant votes that they’ve cultivated through online hateful propaganda.

On their own, they may not enjoy sufficient support to threaten to take seats. But cumulatively, across the country, when their total vote is combined, it may give legitimacy to their right-wing outlook on migration.

Many paper candidates live outside of the Local Electoral Area they are running in.

Some of them regularly go from county to county to protest at the latest hotel in rural Ireland that is being contracted by the State to provide accommodation for International Protection applicants or migrants fleeing war in Ukraine.

In a way, their presence on ballot papers is positive evidence of the strength of our democracy. After all, contesting Local and European elections is infinitely more acceptable than standing outside hotels screaming and shouting at cowering children who are being escorted by the Garda Public Order Unit into their new, temporary homes. But it also signals a shift towards a more intolerant society.

It’s difficult to gauge if parties and individuals with views on the far right of the political spectrum will succeed in large numbers this weekend. A record number of candidates of colour and from migrant backgrounds are standing, too.

Immigration concerns, some legitimate, have dominated the campaign and mainstream parties have reacted with policy changes, but voices of reason and common decency remain mainstream.

Hopefully, Galway will reject hateful head-the-balls, and extreme candidates spouting racist tropes who feed off spreading fear and hate.

Pictured: Helen Ogbu who is standing in City East is a strong contender to become Galway’s first migrant and black woman city councillor. 

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