THREE Irish candidates are among the hopefuls vying to win victory for the Liberal Democrats in constituencies across England next month.
Steve Bradley, David Thorpe and Joe Bourke have all been selected as candidates for the party, which is currently attempting to woo voters with promises to invest in the NHS, cut taxes and tackle the country’s deficit by 2018.
But it’s the issues that these three pledge to tackle on the ground in their constituencies that is likely to have most effect on whether voters tick their box on May 7.
Bradley, a former London councillor who is standing in the Liberal Democrat-held seat of Bath, is leading his campaign locally on transport and environment issues.
A native of the North of Ireland, the prospective MP first moved to the city 20 years ago to study at the University of Bath.
He returned there in 2011 and has since immersed himself in community issues, most recently leading a city-wide survey on the local bus system in order to seek improvements to the service.
Regarding his bid for election – which is supported by the outgoing Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster - he said: “Bath is a fantastic place. Our city faces a number of challenges, however, in transport, housing and its economy.”
He added: “I am seeking election as the MP here as I want to use my experience and energy to work hard at making Bath an even greater place to live, work and visit.”
In London his party colleagues David Thorpe and Joe Bourke are dealing in similar rhetoric as they give the pavements one final pounding before the masses hit the polls on May 7.
Kildare-born Thorpe, also a first time parliamentary candidate, is hoping his Irish background might appeal to the constituency of East Ham, where he must unseat Labour’s Stephen Timms to steal election glory.
He is also campaigning on environmental issues and the rights of older constituents within his borough.
“I am standing to highlight a number of important issues, including the rights of older people, in this election,” he told The Irish Post.
“To win will be challenging, but then for any Liberal Democrat in the current climate it is a challenging time,” the 32-year-old admits, “although I do think our performance will be somewhat better than the polls might predict.”
While his constituency only has a small Irish contingent, Thorpe will be championing the rights of the Irish to all who will listen this month.
“I don’t have a massive Irish constituency - though it is changing as younger Irish are starting to come in – but the borough of Newham as a whole has a lot of older Irish.
“Regardless of size, the challenges facing the older Irish are the same across the country,” he adds, “and if elected in May I will be a voice for the Irish community and champion Irish causes in parliament.”
Joe Bourke makes his second bid for parliament next month.
Having previously stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Dagenham and Rainham constituency in the 2010 general election, where he received 8.6 per cent of the votes, he is now hoping to win victory in Brentford and Isleworth.
With his family roots in Ireland, Bourke lives and works in Brentford, where he runs an accountancy practice.
Regarding his election campaign – which includes calls for more money for local schools and apprenticeships, income tax cuts and better support for carers – he claims: “I’m promoting the liberal values which are needed to build a freer and fairer society where there are opportunities for everyone.”