*Photograph: John Mangan
David Barrett (IND) has admitted his first entry into politics was “disappointing”.
Eliminated on the second count in Clare, the Australian born engineer was unsure if his first foray into politics had whet his appetite for public office. “I’m licking the wounds. When I analysed it I didn’t do too badly, I came in very late, I was nominated on the last day so I only had a couple of weeks to get my act together and I didn’t have the artwork for any of my flyers done right. I was on the backfoot from the beginning, I spent less than €500 on advertising, when you bear that in mind I had a little bit of reach, if I had a longer timeframe and more money to throw at it, I might have done better”.
He also conceded that his low profile also made the task of getting elected more difficult. Last year, Barrett announced plans to establish The Moderate Party and is open to someone more well-known taking charge of party. “At the moment I haven’t the money to throw at it, for the moment that is probably it for now, I would never say never. The way the numbers are forming in this it will be different for them to make a Government, you never know we might be back at this same point in three months time”.
“The rise of Sinn Féin shows there is an appetite for an alternative to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, in a way I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t progressed The Moderates further because maybe that would have done better to present an option that isn’t Sinn Féin, there could be a future for a Moderate Party even if it’s led by someone else and not myself who has a bit more resources and the public profile to carry it off”.
In the eyes of the Cooraclare resident, Sinn Féin’s performance in the General Election is positive for the Banner County. “We needed a change. I’m disappointed more for the outcome than for myself, there is still 33,000 first preferences given to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, I would have liked to see a lot more of a shock to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to say Co Clare is not happy with the situation and we need our services back, I would have preferred to see three Independents and Sinn Féin in there and not a single Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil returned, it wasn’t to be, the people are still voting down traditional lines”.