Maria Doyle is canvassing for Fine Gael in Dundalk-South
Maria is orginally from from the Ardee Road and was educated at The Friary and St Louis before going on to University College Galway where she graudated in business and commerce.
At the age of 28 she went in to teaching, a profession she really loves. She teaches at CBS in Chapel Street Dundalk.
It’s a job she must be very good at because what comes across on the campaign outings is her sincerity and real interest in people’s concerns.
“A big concern among people,” she says, “is the cycle lanes. As far as most people are concerned they have destroyed the town and it has been a waste of the taxpayers’ money.
“We are meeting this issue constantly. The situation in Capel Street is causing a lot of concern.
“It’s not always clear to the general public that officials can go off and act on their own.”
This is a difficulty for local election candidates. Very often they are the victims of beauacracy themselves rather than the public’s watchdogs.
So many limitations have been placed on public representatives, so much of their powers have been stripped away, that it can be thankless task trying to keep up with public servants whose job is to spend the very limited amount of money they are allocated.
Maria Doyle has been outspoken on the council, not only about the cycle lanes - she backed the residents of Stapleton Place on the cycle lane controversy - but she also proved a good watchdog on most financial issues and wasn’t intimated by any local authority department.
She was very vociferious on the crisis hitting the Women’s Aid refuge.
So going out campaigning is something she enjoys.
“Some people will talk with you for an hour,” one of Maria’s campaign helpers said.” Others just take a leaflet and say they will consider things. But everybody is courtious and considerate.”
Maria was co-opted to Dundalk Town Council three years ago when Jim D’Arcy took his seat in the Seanad. And she seems genuinely committed to the cause. She listens patiently.
One woman talks about the water charges and is concerned that she will have to get the water taken in to the house by other means.
She is reassured this will not be the case.
Employment is also another issue. Some people are only asking for part-time work or help.
A member of Maria’s team comes up with a solution.
There should be an election every week. These people go door-to-door listening to people’s woes and try tocome up with some help and some answers.
I’ll never give out about a politician again. They are more saint than sinner.