…see what I did there? Bit of toilet humour to brighten up this politics post! *
So my first ever work election is over and I survived! I can happily say that through the extreme exhaustion, sugar highs and caffeine lows it was one of the best experiences of my career so far and probably in general. And that’s without mentioning the historical significance of it for Ireland!
I was working with a team of 4 others in the Newsroom, updating count information from the various count centres as they came in. If I didn’t know exactly how the Proportional Representation voting system worked before – I sure do now! (For my US and UK friends…this system is why the counting is taking so long!). I saw first hand how the electorate punished Fianna Fail and several high profile ministers who would have been shoe ins only a few short years ago. How unfortunately, the Green Party now has no voice in the Dail. The incredible rise of Independent candidates like Mick Wallace, Shane Ross and Luke “Ming” Flanagan and the historic levels of support for both Labour and especially Fine Gael.
But all those obvious things aside – here are some of my most memorable moments from working on GE11:
1. The shock and hilarity of Seamus Kirk calling Taoiseach Brian Cowen Bertie Ahern on the day the Election was called. He said, ”it is understood that at this stage An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wants to make an announcement.” FAIL!
2. The first scandal of the election: Labour’s Pat Rabbitte being sexist. The Irish Times reports that he said, “You might as well wander down Grafton Street and see if you can meet a couple of good-looking women and say, would you ever mind coming up for the photograph, it’s only for four weeks” - In the end none of the women pictured in that front row got elected!
3. The Dylan Haskins phenomenon. The 23 year old Independent candidate for Dublin South East was a media dream – young, ambitious and fresh. His campaign video was a complete work of art and deserves praise in itself. In the end, he was eliminated in the 4th count – but I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him!
From The Comic Cast
4. Speaking of posters – there were some gems this time round. Observe:
5. Micheal Martin and the Chinese - I can’t believe that during a General Election a leader would be stupid enough to do this in front of a microphone…but it provided much amusement! Behold:
6. The great excitement in the Newsroom when Mary Coughlan lost her seat in Donegal!
7. Not as great as the excitement at the Wicklow count centre when Dick Roche lost his…. (30 seconds in – and watch for the auld woman dancing at the end!)
So how do I feel about the incoming Dail? I’m very much in wait and see mode.
*Please note: I worked a whopping 33 hours this weekend…my humour seems to have suffered slightly. Apologies for very crap jokes that may result.