Taking the time to listen

By Amy Lewis in Enniscorthy

Published 20/02/2016 | 00:00

FF candidate James Browne on the canvass in Enniscorthy with his father, outgoing TD John Browne.
FF candidate James Browne on the canvass in Enniscorthy with his father, outgoing TD John Browne.

James Browne was keeping it in the family as he braved wind and rain in a race to win over some more voters before election day.

Together with his father John Browne, cousin Aisling Carley and family friend Noel Byrne, the Fianna Fail candidate knocked on door after door in St John's Villas. However, although his famous father was helping him to get the word out there, James is determined to carve a name for himself in the political sphere.

'As a first-time candidate, you still have to put the effort in,' he said. 'I have to prove myself to the people or they won't give me their vote.'

In order to do so, James has been canvassing full time since October 14.

'The day job has taken a bit of a hit,' he laughed. 'But knocking on the doors pays dividends.'

As they strolled through the estate, James explained some of the issues that he has been met with so far.

'It depends where you are really,' he said. 'In rural areas, it's broadband, particularly for business owners and farmers. For others, it's childcare. Healthcare is coming up an awful lot too.'

One of the first doors to be opened was at the home of Paddy Davis, who asked him some pressing questions about water charges and property tax. The local man said that the candidate must do away with these before he will win over his vote.

At the next door, James was met with a bit more success as Paddy Byrne put his faith in him.

'You've got a vote here anyway,' he said.

As the candidate was met by many unanswered doors and walked away from many empty homes, the question had to be raised: are jobs an issue for the people he has been meeting?

'Underemployment is the main issue I think,' he said. 'A lot of people have jobs but they have zero hour contracts or very few hours.'

This was illustrated by one of the ladies who greeted James on her doorstep. Following over six years of working in a crèche, she said her hours were cut more and more until she was replaced by CE workers.

'The system is disgraceful,' she said.

James took the time to listen to her story and take her details, telling her that he would be in touch.

The first time candidate had double the luck at the next house where he was offered, not only a vote, but a drop of tea by Stella Connolly. It was a welcome bit of warmth for the candidate and his team before they headed out in the rain to continue on their way.

Wexford People

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