#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 21 April 2021
Advertisement

IN PICTURES: Searching for votes with a Labour TD

A glimpse into the current life of Dublin North West’s John Lyons.

THE OLD ADAGE goes that politicians wear the soles off their shoes during a campaign.

But how much of their day is really spent knocking on doors, kissing babies and arguing with local opponents?

RollingNews.ie photographer Leon Farrell has been spending more than 12 hours with general election candidates to see exactly what they get up to.

First up was Labour TD John Lyons as he fights to be re-elected in Dublin North-West.

Farrell gave TheJournal.ie exclusive access to his photo diary, allowing us a glimpse into a day of campaigning and canvassing.

7.45am

After rising earlier, Lyons welcomed Farrell into his home at Poppintree in Ballymun to snap him getting ready for the day.

_1 John Lyons canvassing

A porridge and honey breakfast is the first bit of sustenance for the long day ahead.

_2 John Lyons Canvassing

_3 John Lyons Canvassing

Then a few minutes are taken to have a quick scan of the news and online correspondence. Waking up on Tuesday morning, the airwaves are dominated by talk of gangland crimes in the aftermath of Eddie Hutch Senior’s murder.

4 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

8.30am

Last minute preparations include another brush of the teeth, a shine of the shoes and a decision on tie colour.

6 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

7 John Loyns Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

_8 John Lyons Canvasing Source: Leon Farrell

9am

And then it’s out the door to squeeze in a couple of hours of canvassing, in the hope of meeting some locals and getting votes in the bag.

9 John Lyons Canvassing

10 John Lyons Canvassing

11 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

10am

The photographer was observing people’s reaction to his subject all day and told us he was surprised the response to Lyons in the Ballymun area was so overwhelmingly positive.

12 John Lyons Canvassing

There was a lot of applauding for him about the marriage referendum, on which Lyons had campaigned strongly, he said.

13 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Most are aware that on his election five years ago, he became one of the first openly gay members of Dáil Eireann. The second was his Labour party colleague, Dominic Hannigan.

14 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Lyons has previously told TheJournal.ie, however, that he would prefer not to have to talk openly about his sexuality in order to advance issues he feels strongly about such as same-sex marriage.

19 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Alice Burke, 71, was one such person only delighted to see the TD at her door – a somewhat different reaction to what many Labour representatives are experiencing across the country.

15 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Although, it isn’t all rosey out there. Lyons had difficult questions to answer in relation to concerns aired by constituents about homelessness, rising rent costs and access to healthcare.

17 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

He has conceded previously that Labour’s Tesco ‘every little hurts’ ad from 2011 has ‘haunted the party’ while in government. So these questions about how his party is not protecting the vulnerable make for frank conversations.

18 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

In 2011, Lyons was elected after the seventh count in Dublin North West with 14.63% of the first preference vote. He had been a member of Dublin City Council for the Ballymun-Finglas area for three years.

16 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

11am

Hoping to emulate that result, he briefly checks in with members of his campaign team back at home.

20 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

11.30am

Lyons has to take a break from meeting potential voters to touch base with his boss, Labour party leader Joan Burton, at a DCU media opportunity.

21  John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

As part of the tour of the university’s workshops, Lyons volunteers himself as a guinea pig.

22 John Lyons canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

He takes a spin on a bike which examines his VO2 to check his heartbeat and fitness level.

23 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Burton, as the party leader, has her own media entourage everywhere she goes these days, and Lyons get caught up in the spotlight momentarily.

24 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

And, there are always selfies to be taken too. Of course. These delighted-looking lads are from St Aidan’s, near the DCU campus.

25 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

2pm

But it’s soon time to get back to Ballymun for a trip down memory lane.

First up is Lyons’s old school, Trinity Comprehensive, where the pupils are showing off their 1916 exhibition.

26 John Lyons canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

Joan came along for the spin and they were both well-received, according to Farrell.

27 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

3pm

We all got a glimpse into Lyons’s close relationship with his mother, Josie, on marriage referendum voting day last year, so naturally, he brought his boss around to hers for pancakes. The day that was in it, and all.

28  John Lyons Election Source: Leon Farrell

She has made sure to make clear where her allegiances lie, with a good big poster of her son in the garden.

After the visit, Lyons heads to TempleBar to register his intention to run in the constituency.

29 John Lyons Canvassing  copy Source: Leon Farrell

8pm

With that important task completed, it’s time to start pounding the pavements again.

31 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

At about 8pm, the rain started and he took shelter while canvassing around the Prospect Avenue areas in Glasnevin. 

32 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

10pm

His team have been out for about five hours so by 10pm, it’s almost home time…

33 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

10.30pm

There hasn’t been much time for food since the pancake, so Lyons rustles something together from his fridge.

34 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

11.00pm

A little relaxing with David Attenborough before bed, and it’s time to start all over again.

35 John Lyons Canvassing Source: Leon Farrell

All image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Earlier: ‘Come over here’: Gerry and Enda shook hands in Sligo this morning

More: The results of the first poll taken DURING the election aren’t great news for the coalition 

Read next:

COMMENTS (38)