Where Do Election Candidates Stand On Decriminalisation?

Thanks to the Smartvote.ie it is possible to compare where election candidates stand on cannabis decriminalisation.

Smartvote helps users in choosing which candidate to vote for based on their views. Visitors are asked 30 questions and how strongly they disagree or agree. The questions cover a range of topics including cannabis decriminalisation.

The website allows you to compare candidates on all the topics, some of them, or just one. For the purpose of this tutorial I’ve selected only the cannabis question and the Cork South-Central constituency.

However I suggest you check all of the questions and thoroughly compare the candidates in your area. Arguably one shouldn’t vote based on a single issue, but for cannabis consumers it is useful to know where a candidate stands.

The reason a candidate chose their answer is given in some but not all cases. Sadly most political parties appear to be using a generic answer for all its candidates. See below for more.

So you want to check where candidates stand? Here is a simple tutorial to help you.

First you need to visit www.smartvote.ie and you can find your constituency either by searching for it directly or by using your address.


Once you have found your constituency select Compare All Candidates


Scroll towards the end of the page and select your preference underneath the cannabis question. Then click save at the bottom of the page.


The next page lists the candidates who matched your response. Of the 10 Cork South-Central candidates only 3 support the idea of decriminalisation. Only 1 candidate neither agrees or disagrees.


However it is worth checking any reason a candidate gave for their stance. To see their comments click on the Show Breakdown link under the candidates name. Scroll down and select the cannabis question to see their comments.

This is useful as it allows you to go more in depth. While Diarmaid Ó Cadhla scores high on support for decriminalisation we can see from the reason given it is not straightforward.


Only two other candidates in the constituency support the idea of decriminalisation.

However, the Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate Fiona Ryan gave no reason for her support of decriminalisation. People Before Profit candidate Jim O Connell also failed to give a reason for his support.

Smartvote also allows you to see why candidates don’t support decriminalisation. Interestingly, though perhaps unsurprisingly, some political parties appear to be using generic responses. Spelling errors and all.

Below is the response from Fianna Fail’s two TD’s in the constituency Micheál Martin and Michael McGrath.


The Fine Gael response from its two TD’s Simon Coveney and Jerry Buttimer includes the same typo in both.


Labour TD Ciaran Lynch who is opposed to decriminalisation stated the following.


A quick check of the Sinn Fein candidate appears to reveal the current party stance.


The Green Party candidate Lorna Bogue was the only one to neither agree or disagree. She gave the following reason.

The other candidate in this constituency Mick Finn, an independent, stated he is opposed to decriminalisation.mickfinnSmartvote is a great tool. Contrast its ease in comparing candidates with having to contact them and compile the data yourself. Something I attempted to do during the previous election

It is a shame to see parties rely on generic answers to the extent where it includes typos! Some of the respondents also gave no reason and perhaps in the future Smartvote could make it mandatory to give a reason either way.

Regardless this is a very useful tool to compare the candidates in your area. As stated earlier it is perhaps better to consider all of their views and not just the the cannabis issue.

Much thanks and credit to www.smartvote.ie for providing this wonderful website and data.

** Token disclaimer: We do not run and are not affiliated with Smartvote.ie. We aren’t responsible for the data provided. If you’re a candidate or feel one was misrepresented then please contact smartvote directly **


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