With local elections around the corner, Green Party members were all round town last Friday but this photo opportunity amused me. Here is John Gormley with Trish Forde Brennan, Green party candidate in Castleconnell. They are at the new skate park in Castletroy and Gormley looks pleased, maybe because of the lack of graffiti in evidence. The other Green Party candidate in Limerick is James Nix who runs in North Ward which is also the base of new aspiring councillor Tom Shortt of the Labour Party. Tom Shortt is perhaps best known to the general population as the adult who spearheaded the kids in their desire to have a skatepark in the city. This long campaign which resulted finally in the opening of a skatepark last July was undoubtedly an admirable achievement (if marred a little by juvenile political squabbling the week before hand).
On the other side of the equation, local RSF (Republican Sinn Fein) activists have shown little time for skateboarders. In a letter (before the skatepark opened) to the Limerick Leader last June (8th letter from top), Joe Lynch, said "The activities of the young people who gather at the monument is lowering the tone of the area. They are causing a nuisance by skateboarding.. and these young people..also carry on in public in an unseemly manner" . Ironically for a group that saw every blank wall as a canvass for political expression in the 70's and 80's he also attacks the graffiti and demands that "The young people should clean up these offensive slogans to demonstrate they have some respect". Interestingly, the re emergence of some skaters uptown, in recent times, around the tait clock has elicited a lot of anger from users of the Limerick blogger forum. So judging from that small sample it might not be the vote winner that Labour or Green Party hope for.
One way of finding out might come from an idea of Daniel K. Sullivan, the Doorstep Challenge where people in local areas download and print off their concerns as submitted to a website by organisations , community groups, individuals etc. Thus a truer picture of what peoples real concerns might emerge for aspiring politicians. I wonder how many people would decide on pushing issues of dealing with/engaging with the youth.