With only 48 hours left until polling day, history could be in making for Galway if Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton has anything to do with it.
The general election candidate is hoping to shake things up and add her name to the short list of Galwegian female TDs.
Since the foundation of the State only two women have been elected in Galway; Brigid Hogan-O’Higgins (FG) in the 60s and 70s, and most recently Galway West TD Maire Geoghegan Quinn (FF) from 1975 to 1997.
Senator Naughton believes it is time for a young female politician to represent the city.
“I’m not afraid to stand up and say when things are wrong. I’m a solution politician and we really need my generation in government now and that’s what I want to do,” she added.
As we went door-to-door along College Road last Thursday night vying for votes Senator Naughton’s view was echoed by many local residents who assured her she had their first-preference vote.
“We need a city TD in government and, more importantly, we need a woman to represent us,” said one resident while another said Galway needs “strong representation” in the city.
The power of persuasion seemed to work in Senator Naughton’s favour and even the locals who were still sitting on the fence, unsure of who to vote for, were impressed by her pitch on keeping the recovery going.
“I always said I would never vote Fine Gael but I’m keeping my options open now,” was one resident’s response.
However it wasn’t all good luck and well wishes with more than one citizen voicing their concerns over University Hospital Galway’s (UHG) Emergency Department crisis.
Senator Naughton said UHG is “not fit for purpose” and it is no longer an option to keep investing on the same site. She believes the only option is to phase the hospital out to Merlin Park.
Traffic management, lack of resources in schools and childcare were also all brought up more than once on the doors.
But Senator Naughton believes “keeping the recovery going” is essential.
“This recovery is really fragile so that’s why it’s so important that we have responsible governance and we get Fine Gael and Labour back in to government in order to continue that work,” she added.