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ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Not voting is a load of ballots

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

If you don't vote this week in the European and council elections across Ireland, others will decide for you so make a pledge to go polling!

If the wrong politicians are elected so far as you personally are concerned and you didn't vote, then don't moan as it is your own fault.

Not voting will also be a gross insult to the hundreds of thousands of Irish men and women, nationalist and unionist, who served, fought, were wounded or died during two world wars.

They were slaughtered so you could live in a normal democracy and have the right to vote for parties of your choice.

What sort of Ireland would we be suffering if Germany's Kaiser Bill had won the Great War in 1918?

Even worse, what Holocaust would have been unleashed on the Emerald Isle if Nazi tyrant Hitler had won World War Two and set up a network of Auschwitz-style death camps across Ireland?

Thankfully, none of these two nightmares are a reality in part because of the sacrifice of so many Irish people serving with the Allied forces.

If we are to be effective Irish citizens, we need an Australian-style voting system where polling is compulsory.

And if you don't like a party or politician, don't whinge about them; get down to the polling station and vote for people and parties who will keep them out of power.

If we call ourselves responsible citizens and democrats, then we are being hypocrites and frauds if we fail to vote.

In France, Germany and Greece, the Far Right are set to make significant gains in the European polls.

They are growing in their influence because of apathy among ordinary decent voters.

So don't dare dismiss the growth of the Front National in France or the Golden Dawn party in Greece as French or Greek problems.

These parties will be part of the European Parliament and their MEPs can vote on laws which will affect Ireland.

That's one major reason why we need out of the European Union as fast as possible.

And if voter apathy is the real winner in Ireland this week, how long before an Irish version of Front National or Golden Dawn starts vomiting out its racist bile on our island?

This is the most important European election since the first in 1979. The Irish people, north and south, cannot afford to ignore the ballot box.

Will Sinn Féin top the poll in the North, and make a major European Parliamentary breakthrough in the South?

Could Northern nationalism turn out in such significant force that it captures Unionism's second seat?

Will the Green Party make a comeback as it has been doing across Europe?

Will the Irish polls be used as a referendum on the Stormont and Dáil coalition governments?

Will Bazza and Wee Jonnie's NI21 party crash and burn on the first outing in the North?

Will Alliance survive the Union flag dispute which saw a number of its constituency offices attacked and elected representatives threatened?

Will Nigel Farage's staunchly Euro-skeptic United Kingdom Independence Party have the same impact in the North as it is expected to amass in Britain?

Could a strong showing for republican candidates give added impetus for the independence reference in Scotland in September?

These elections will decide whether many of us keep our heads above the poverty line with many austerity cuts still to come on both sides of the border.

Don't just simply hope for a favourable result which will help your bank balance; get to the polls.

Remember the old maxim, vote early vote often – so make sure you participate in both polls and vote for as many preferences as possible.

May 20, 2014
________________

This article appeared in the May 19, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.

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