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Absence of election paraphernalia was to Trudy Leyden’s detriment

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*Trudy Leyden (centre) with supporters. Photograph: John Mangan

Trudy Leyden (IND) conducted her campaign without the aid of election paraphernalia and admitted to The Clare Echo that it was to her detriment.

Speaking on Sunday night after being eliminated with 222 votes (218 first prefernces) on the second count, Trudy was in high spirits as she assessed her GE2020 performance. “I think it was [a disadvantage] because people need to see you. Even people in my own neighbourhood when I canvassed said ‘I didn’t realise until yesterday when I saw in the paper that you were running’. But I knew I wasn’t going to get a seat so I had the creativity to go and just run my own ideal campaign.

Trudy said she was prepared for the campaign slog of having worked as election agent for Mary Howard (FG) in 2016. “But I did find I got fatigue, I had a pain in my jaws after talking to people for hours at the doors and I was sleeping in because of it, it was crazy. But there was no stress all the way through.”

After remarking on her surprise that Michael Leahy was due to pick up a good chunk of her transfers despite “being on the opposite end of the spectrum to me” she moved to speculate on her future in politics. “Well, I happened to meet someone there who helped out with the campaign and she said ‘you need to move to an area that isn’t full of women’. Ennis is full of women and there’s no point in even thinking about it unless I move to a district where there aren’t. Let’s just say if there’s another election in a few months, I won’t be running in it.”

She added, “I did myself proud, coming from studying politics I had a very particular way I wanted to run my campaign especially when I was free to do it the way I wanted it, so I did. And maybe I knew it wasn’t going to be plusses for me but I wanted to make my little mark and do it my way; someone who has been trained politically, so the issues like parental alienation and multiculturalism are not local issues. Most people don’t give a damn about that but that’s what I wanted to do because I was being true to myself. With a political party, you wouldn’t have that freedom – maybe they should be talking about their passions more than their areas.”

Stuart Holly is the editor and co-founder of The Clare Echo. A native of Ennis, Stuart studied at St Flannan's College before obtaining a journalism degree in Dublin. After interning at The Evening Herald, he landed his first job with The Irish Daily Mail, Stuart worked in newspaper production with the Independent Group and in Auckland, New Zealand before a lengthy spell as a pun-spewing sub-editor at the Irish Daily Star. In 2015, Stuart returned to The Banner County where he took up employment as a news reporter with The Clare People.

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