However we've entered an era of accountability, brought on in part by digital media and the vast quantity of readily available information on the internet.
That's why we all have a job to do for Local Elections 2019. Take the time to meet with candidates knocking on your door. Ask them some relevant questions and share your experiences on social media. Let other people know what they've promised you. Save their leaflets and literature so they can be reminded about their promises. Make sure they represent your views. Some quick questions you can ask any councillor:
1. What's your view on water charges?
2. What's your take on global warming?
3. Can the council dig us out of the housing crisis?
4. What is your vision for job growth and community stability?
5. What is your view on direct provision and refugee housing?
6. Would you support a border poll (United Ireland)?
Of course we also need to engage with our European representatives. For far too long MEPs have been elected on the back of party brands or celebrity status. We need to be far more vigilant about what's happening in Europe and some quick questions to ask candidates could be:
1. Would you see yourself aligning with or joining any EU voting group/party?
2. Do you support a future European Army beyond PESCO?
3. How do you view the growth in immigration and an expanding EU?
4. Should we push for a closer relationship with the UK in the aftermath of Brexit and how do EU trade agreements affect this?
5. What's your view on Ireland's approach to tackling climate change?
It's important to talk to MEP candidates and have them explain their views on Europe to you. For me it's essential the candidate believes in the future of the EU, some rogue candidates out there would have us leave Europe while others have a poor track record of attending the various committees where they are meant to represent us.
In the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger we all learned a valuable lesson in this country, we need to be switched on and responsible if we're going to expect accountability.
This May we have a duty to meet with candidates knocking on our doors and ask them some questions. Again it's important we share information online, through Facebook or Twitter or wherever. Collect leaflets. If you can please e-mail me copies of the leaflets you receive. The local elections is grass roots politics and getting it right starts here and now.