Cinnamon to shake things up
Countdown to the Wexford By-election
Rising from the shadows is People Before Profit candidate Cinnamon Blackmore, a long term social activist who impressed when she came out with just under 500 votes in May's local elections in the Gorey area after she ran for the first time.
With her eyes set on filling Mick Wallace's seat in the forthcoming by-election, she is in it to win with a voice that will not go unheard.
With a background as a carer, Ms Blackmore is involved with Gorey's Family Resource Centre but has been working on the ground as a political activist with Wexford Mental Health Warriors and Gorey's Together for Yes campaign as well as People Before Profit campaigns more generally.
The mother of one is looking forward to a campaign that will be hard and fast.
'This is going to be one hell of a challenge but I'm really hoping that the people who supported Mick Wallace, who worked so hard and was well loved in his community, will give me due consideration as a left wing candidate.
'Mick was amazing, he stood up in the Dáil and he did not go easy into the light. He asked difficult questions and was sometimes confrontational. We need someone who is going to stop and ask questions and not let issues be glossed over, someone who will shake things up. I am hoping that people will see me and People Before Profit as having the track record not just to toe the party line to make things comfortable,' she said.
Ms Blackmore explained that as a public representative, she wishes to be a voice for the voiceless.
'As a mother to a child with special needs, I want to support other families around the county who are feeling hard done by, who can't buy their way out. If you want someone to really understand what is going on with regular people, you need a regular person to fight for those in their own community.
'The campaign comes down to talking to people at the door, seeing where they are coming from. I look forward to letting people tell me their own personal stories,' she said.
Core campaign issues for the People Before Profit candidate include adult mental health services and CAMHS, addiction, public transport, the environment, homelessness, a secondary school for the Courtown/Riverchapel area, employment and workers seeing a return for their taxes.
'These are issues I'm familiar with on a personal basis so I can really connect. There are people commuting every day who are being crushed by rents, property tax and high child care costs. When we think of carbon taxes, it's the big companies causing the problems that should be taxed, not everybody else.
'I want to work on getting more free or subsidised public transport on the road, with more train services county wide to reduce commuting and cars so that people get to where they are going on time and arrive able to work, as well as benefiting the environment. People should have money to spend at the end of the week, not just on rent or childcare, to plan ahead without thinking that they are going to be crushed my debt.
'The CAMHS issue is still ongoing a year and half later. We don't have a centre fit for purpose and we do not have the psychiatric staff to look after the growing population in Wexford.
'There are such a large amount of issues going on in this county and there are people who are not affected as much because of their financial circumstances. Throw away comments made about government about homelessness and drug addiction, it just smacks so much of privilege and people don't seem to realise why these things happen,' she said.
Ms Blackmore said that she will be different to other candidates, and even if she doesn't beat the competition this time, she will keep going.
'I will keep on going as long as there are people that I can represent. Working class people, those in receipt of any kind of government payment who are being vilified, who struggle with rent and mortgages and are being ignored, they need to have a voice that will show them that it is not other poor people who are causing the issues.
'If you feel the system is uneven, when it comes to money and services, you look up to who is holding the purse strings and therefore who benefits.
'When you have a candidate who has claimed that homelessness is not an issue in Wexford, you have to look really hard at them because there are tents outside their office window. It's not acceptable when we are an extraordinarily wealthy country, because homelessness is not the inevitable, it's a policy design. For someone to come in from a privileged point of view and then decide that they know what is best for you, that is just ridiculous.
'Some other candidates in this race are extremely polished, they have the party machine behind them and they know all the right people. Whether they will fill the boots of Mick Wallace is a different story.
'A year and a half ago, I would not have thought any of this possible and I was so delighted and honoured to be selected again after my performance in the locals.
Former councillors Deirdre Wadding and Tony Walsh gave their full support to Blackmore during the People Before Profit selection which took place last week. 'Working class people need to realise that we are all in the same position. We can get together, stand and fight and try get back what we deserve, which is the opportunity to work and live to pay our rent and have a future,' she said.