Fine Gael sets out etiquette guide for election candidates
Hopefuls given DVD and booklet including advice such as ‘do not walk over shrubbery’
Fine Gael has advised its election canvassers that 7pm to 9pm is a good time to call to people’s homes – but to avoid times when there’s sport on television or “blockbuster” episodes of TV soaps are being screened. And there should be no running over lawns or shrubbery.
Party headquarters has issued a short DVD and accompanying booklet to its candidates, with TDs, councillors and actors showing how it should be done. The guide and training video were given to candidates at a recent event at the Red Cow hotel in Dublin.
The perfect canvass is laid out by the video’s narrators, Cork South-Central TD Jerry Buttimer and Sinéad Sheppard, a Fine Gael councillor who was once in the pop group Six.
Mr Buttimer claims “canvassers are the front line in the struggle to win votes”.
Ms Sheppard says “between 7 and 9pm is generally a good time” to knock on doors, but the accompanying booklet warns: “Don’t pick times when people are most likely not to be at home, or receptive (during televised sports events, blockbuster episodes of TV soap operas).”
There is a warning not to be “trapped” by supporters of other parties and not to to get into arguments.
Ms Sheppard also says: “Don’t take shortcuts over lawns and shrubbery.”Candidates are advised to dress comfortably “but smartly”, to carry a pen and notebook.
The video features TDs including Dún Laoghaire’s Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Meath East’s Helen McEntee, and councillors and candidates.
The booklet includes a message from Frank Flannery, the former party strategist who has since resigned from his role in Fine Gael. He told party activists to keep “this handy guide safe but ready to hand for the serious business ahead”.