At 1pm on Monday, November 22nd, outside the Arts Building on campus, TCDSU President László Molnárfi and Citizenship Officer Ella Mac Lennan launched a poster campaign to encourage students resident in Ireland to register to vote in time for the upcoming elections outside College.
In a statement to The University Times, Molnárfi said: “This government has done undeniable harm to our communities. This is not by accident, or by incompetence. The system is working exactly as it is intended to. They follow a neoliberal capitalist economic policy, and represent big capital, vulture funds and corporations, not the people, our communities and workers.”
He claims the government is “committing social murder, by refusing to provide people with the basic necessities — to have a home, enough money to buy groceries and live in financial security.”
Molnárfi urges students to call the government out and hold their representatives accountable. “The time for respectability, lobbying and sitting down with the Ministers for a cup of coffee is over”, he said.
“Being neutral and lobbying them is not enough — we must, at the next general election, boot them out of power, remove them from their positions, every single last one of them.”
There are three upcoming elections that residents of Ireland are able to vote in: The European elections, Ireland’s local elections and Ireland’s general election.
The European elections, in which Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are elected, run from June 6th to June 9th. Ireland currently has 13 MEPs, which will increase to 14 after a resolution to adopt 11 more MEPs Europe-wide was passed by the European Parliament in June 2023. The political party most represented amongst Ireland’s MEPs is currently Fine Gael.
Local Elections, in which councillors are elected to a local electoral area (LEA), are expected to run later in June. The number of councillors elected to a given LEA ranges from four to seven and they are elected on the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
The two current government parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, hold 534 LEA seats, with Sinn Féin holding 81. Momentum is currently behind Sinn Féin and they will be hoping for a big swing in their favour in the local elections to show strength ahead of the next general election.
The latest date for the next general election in Ireland is March 2025, however it is expected that the election will happen soon after the last Coalition budget in November 2024.
The number of TDs will rise from 160 in the 2020 election to 174. The current government parties in coalition are Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green and hold 36, 33 and 11 seats respectively. Sinn Féin currently hold 33 but are hoping for a majority.
Current Tánaiste Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, said there would be “huge difficulties” in going into Coalition with Sinn Féin, but did not rule it out. Sinn Féin may be hoping for a strong performance from other left-wing parties, such as Labour, the Social Democrats or People before Profit, in order to form a Coalition with them.