When Eimear Coyle posted the blue, yellow and white ballot papers in the black box at Friday's elections she did so for the first time. The Drung lady marked her preferences in the three ballots on the same days as she celebrate her 18th birthday.
For Eimear Friday May 24, 2019 will be easy to remember as the first time she exercised her franchise slotting her political preferences into the box in the Drung polling station.
“I always had an interest in politics, particularly the historical aspect of the system,” she told the Celt in advance of voting.
The young lady said that she was not sure if she was going to get the opportunity to vote until the polling card arrived in the post: “I asked at the council office about whether I was eligible, but the staff were not sure. I filled out the forms and got a Garda to signed it off, then sent it in.”
The idea of making the application to joint the supplementary register before actually turning 18 was trashed about in the Coyle home before that. Eimear's mum, Majella Coyle, explained: “We just applied for it as she was 18 on polling day. She went through the channels of applying for the polling card and it arrived in the post on the Tuesday before the vote.”
“Of all of us Eimear has the most interest in politics. I would not follow any particular political party. I go for the person and their stance on individual issues and what they would do for local community,” Majella said of her political philosophy.
She is aware of the value of local government: “I would be more interested in local politics than national. I look at what the local politicians do for the community and their track record. If there's someone elected who did not deliver, well perhaps it's time to give someone with new blood a chance.”
Eimear's political interest come from both sides: “My husband encouraged her to check if she was eligible to vote on the day. He spoke to someone in the council to see if she could get her polling card. He got the forms, then Eimear headed off to the barracks to get them filled in three weeks before the closing date.”
The new voter pointed to recent political events as raising the profile of politics among the younger generation: “The eight amendment really captured the public interest, but I could not do anything then. I think the local election is more interesting than the European election. I don't think people think about it as much,” Eimear said.
The divorce referendum has not captured the imagination of her peers: “It is important, but to be honest I don't think it is the most drastic of changes. I'll vote in it, but it is not something I would campaign about.”
After voting on Friday evening the young lady hopes to mark the special day: “I have a few plans for after, but I have the leaving cert this years, so it will not be anything too hectic.”
As for a future in politics, she is not committing one way or another: “I don't know, you would be very much in the public eye and everyone would have an opinions of you. I don't think that would be for me. We will see,” she concluded.