Three women and a little boy in blue stood chatting at a corner of Gloucester Place in Dublin’s north inner city. Intermittently they hugged themselves against the cold and dragged deep on cigarettes in gaps in conversation.
“No name and no picture either. Look at the state of me,” said one who called herself Denise. She and Mary had just voted for Sinn Féin at the Our Lady of Lourdes community centre nearby.
“Sinn Féin, absolutely all the way,” said Mary.
Denise usually does not vote. “It’s the first time for me,” she said. She had voted for Mary Lou McDonald. “Give them a chance and if they don’t [work out] it’ll be someone else next time.”
Down towards Rutland Street, middle-aged Ray had no plans to vote. "No. I won't bother my arse," he said. "They're all the same. That bastard Enda Kenny is another Haughey. If I was to vote I'd vote Sinn Féin when yer man is gone, Gerry Adams. They'll never get any higher as long as he's there."
A tall young man, all in black, from hood to trainers, walked past hands in pockets. “I never vote,” he said.
Jackie Kenny does vote, however. "I'm not sure," she said, when asked who she planned to vote for. "But I won't be voting for Enda Kenny and them all lining their own pockets."
Farther up the street a hooded man was picking up rubbish and putting it in a black plastic bag. “I didn’t vote. I don’t have a voting card. I was abroad for five years. It’s not important at all.”
Turloch said he was not going to vote. "It only helps the higher echelons. Tax credits and new benefits don't help the working class," he said. "But if I was voting I'd support [Social Democrat] Gary Gannon. He's from here."
Belinda Nugent had it all worked out. "One: Maureen O'Sullivan. Two: Mary Lou. Three: Eilís Ryan." Gannon was on her list too. "I always vote," she said, adding she liked that there were "good strong women candidates in the area".
Mark Donnelly stood at his door smoking, woolly cap on his head. "Yeah, I'm going to vote but I'm not sure what to do. I haven't made up my mind. They're all the same anyway."
A happy young couple coming up the street, laden with boxes of groceries, said they would not be voting. "We're from Brazil, " the young man said. "We have no vote."
Michelle on Sean McDermott Street was in a quandary. "I'm not sure what to do." She had voted Fianna Fáil in the past "and last time I said I'd give Fine Gael a try but I don't like the Coalition. I don't like her [Tánaiste Joan Burton]. I can't make up my mind. It's why I haven't voted yet."
PJ Devine had no such doubts. Emerging from the Sean MacDermott Street swimming centre he was on his way home to Finglas "to vote for Sinn Féin, Dessie Ellis. I voted Labour the last time but they let us down. Róisín Shortall might get a vote too."