I watched Micheal Martin last night on Vincent (TV3). At the time I was figuring out my own plans for Saturday (when the Lisbon count will take place). I love being at count centres in any election there is a great buzz and it’s a bit like All Ireland day for the politically inclined.
Funny enough I feel differently about the polling day itself. A friend asked me this morning would I be taking tomorrow off (to be around for the voting). I remember being asked the same on GE day. It had never really ocurred to me. I mean, what would you do? Hang around polling centres trying haggling people for an extra vote? Shuffle around outside and talk about turnout? I’ve done the latter at times and it’s not terribly exciting. I’ll confess to being a bundle of nerves outside the polling station as polls ended on 5th June but that time it was personal.
I actually find polling day itself a little depressing sometimes. One almost feels embarrassed for haraunging the people over the preceding weeks and maybe for caring so much. Judgment day has arrived. And I do feel people should be allowed make up their own minds at that stage. The media moratorium is a good thing and it’s a bit of a calm before the storm for those who will be at the count centre watching the boxes spill open at 8am the following day. Too late to influence anything at that stage of course but still a hive of frenetic activity.
This Saturday, I believe the Kildare Count is on at Punchestown whilst the Dublin one is at Citywest just up the road. Am tempted to flit between the two for the morning although if I end up tallying I’ll need to stay at my post for the duration. Bound to be bit of buzz about the Dublin count with all the big players and probably media outlets there but be very keen to see how my own areas voted as well. A political dilemma. Anyway whilst I was thinking about what do it I spotted Micheal Martin again as he popped up on the TV screen. As Minister for Foreign Affairs he has more or less ran the campaign from the government side. He’ll want to return home to Cork on Friday to vote of course and presumably he’ll want to stay the night with his wife and children whom he probably hasn’t seen much of lately. However he may very well wish or even need to be back at the count centre in Dublin first thing Saturday morning. Given the recent exposé of our Ceann Comhairles travel penchant, and of course more pressingly the state of our national finances, it got me thinking about what his travel arrangements would be. Whilst In between glancing at Vincent and Micheal on the TV I was reading a book about UK Labour and just at the part where (Gordon) Brown was flying back from Edinburgh on the day of election in order to join the London victory party so such things were on my mind.
I suppose the default option would be travel via Ministerial Merc from Cork to Dublin early Saturday morning, to arrive by 8am. Probably want be on the road by 5.30 at the latest but it’s doable. I’m not sure whether the government jet would be an option, probably a very costly one, but it would save time and allow the Minister arrive refreshed and ready for duty and in good time for a full day ahead. A potential compromise may be to grab a Ryanair (or other internal) flight – whilst this would address the time factor, the transfer from Dublin airport back to CityWest has to be included which would add at least an hour with checkout etc, and also its not a great environment for work or relaxation on route. The government jet or chauffer options could go to Weston aerodrome or CityWest direct respectively. I think the possibilities are interesting in the context of the debate on what are reasonable expenses. We want our Ministers to turn up for duty, on time, fresh and ready to do their jobs. At the same time we want them to do it in a manner that is as cost efficient and value for money as possible. It should be noted that I have no idea what the Minister’s plans are for the night in question, he could be sleeping outside CityWest in a tent for all I know, and I certainly don’t purport to speak for him or his arrangements. Maybe I think about these things too much 🙂