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GE2020 THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Trudy Leyden in Barefield

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*Sayed Farid Sanai, Cllr Ann Norton and Trudy Leyden. 

In what was the coldest part of the campaign trail to date, temperatures hit two degrees as Trudy Leyden (IND) called to the people of Barefield seeking their first preference vote.

An ex Fine Gael activist, Trudy has previously knocked on the doors of the county canvassing for Cllr Mary Howard (FG) during her bid to get into Dáil Éireann in 2016. On Monday evening, she was joined by Cllr Ann Norton (IND) and her campaign manager Sayed Farid Sanai a well-known news anchor from Afghanistan now living in Direct Provision in Ennis.

A new housing estate is the first port of call full of young families. Behind the first door is a family that have recently moved to the area, they are welcomed to Clare by Cllr Norton.

With a Masters of Arts in Politics plus a degree in Cultural Studies, Trudy is quick to inform the electorate of her qualifications. “I’m well able, I’m the same age as the Taoiseach”. She is asked where in the county she is from, “I’m the only Ennis candidate, I’m hopeful of pulling a vote from Ennis, I’m well able to fight my case”.

Provisions for children with special needs are flagged as an item of concern on one door with one guardian “terrified” over the lack of supports for those aged over eighteen. The same lady has flagged that animal welfare is another issue she will take into consideration when casting her vote.

“I’m working in communities for ten years. I’m ready to go,” she informs a man in his thirties. He highlighted climate change as being the main factor that will influence his vote, “We need to encourage change, retrofitting of homes is not being encouraged,” he commented. Trudy’s stance on running a paperless campaign that includes no leaflets or posters hits the right note with him and he admitted that the Green Party using posters is “disappointing”.

School parking at Barefield NS is pinpointed as a big issue by a mother in her thirties, she highlighted that they chose this location to allow them to walk to school but that the present situation is “too dangerous”. The chat unfolds to Leyden giving her view that Ireland needs a smooth transition to a multi-cultural society, “I was attacked in 2002 at a Neo-Nazi rally, that’s what politicised me”.

One Limerick student admitted that they let the dog out because “we thought it was Fianna Fáil canvassers. “We’re pushing for change,” she said which is news to Trudy’s ears as she asks to keep her in mind as part of that way of thinking.

Parental alienation is another issue close to Leyden’s heart, she discussed it at length with a woman in her forties who revealed she was unaware what it was prior to opening the door.

A regular feature of this canvass is of constituents pressing Trudy for further reading on what she stands for. Her paperless campaign will impress some but for those seeking extra information, she advised them to contact her Facebook page. Trudy is the first to trial such a tactic, how it pans out will influence if it becomes a regular feature of election campaigns.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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