Why I believe more young people should stand for election

Shane Folan talks about his experience running in the 2019 local elections and his plans for the future.

Written by Shane Folan


Name: Shane Folan

Age: 26

Preferred pronouns: He / Him

Party: Labour

Local Electoral Area: Donaghmede

Elected in 2019 local elections?: No

What was the election experience like for you?

The campaign was generally a positive experience for me. People were really receptive to a young person running for the first time and were interested to hear what I and the whole team were bringing to the table. It was all encompassing of course and took over the few months in the lead up to the election, which was tiring, but once we got out there it was quite enjoyable.

What went well for you during the elections?

My team, while very small, gave absolutely everything. We had a disappointing result but I could not be prouder of everyone who gave their time up for my campaign. Possibly the thing I’m proudest of were the people who had never come out canvassing for anyone or anything before, but gave up their time for me and the campaign we were running.

Is there anything you think you’ll do differently next time?

A more vigorous fundraising campaign I think would be needed. We did well but we weren’t able to cover what we would have hoped, and the cost of running in elections is not cheap. The cost is a huge barrier for a lot of people, but particularly young people.

Do you think it’s important for more young people to get involved in politics? If so, what advice would you have for them?

Absolutely, young voices are sorely lacking in all levels of government. Representative democracy only really thrives when the representatives reflect the population, and for that to be the case we need more young people to stand for election and be elected. My advice would be to keep your chin up. Things are not going to go to plan, and you need to be able to change things up. Also get a campaign manager that you trust and who can speak to you honestly about what things are going well, but what things need to change.

What are you planning on doing now?

I plan on continuing to campaign for what I believe in and to make our city work for the people who live in it.

Anything else you’d like to share about the experience or your plans going forward?

This campaign was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life, and yet it was the most enjoyable. I would do it all again.

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