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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Irish election: Voters' views
Ireland's general election is set to be the country's closest in years, with Bertie Ahern's government in a tight race with opposition parties.

Irish voters tell the BBC how they plan to vote on Thursday and what issues matter most to them.

RORY EGAN, COUNTY GALWAY

Rory Egan
Health is the number one issue for me. I have been on a waiting list for five years for an operation.

That's not good enough.

There don't seem to be any improvements at all in the health services, certainly not where I live anyway.

I have always voted [ruling party] Fianna Fail but I'm thinking about changing this time because of this.

URSULA KEENAN, MULLINGAR, COUNTY WESTMEATH

Ursula Keenan
Bertie Ahern has done an excellent job.

I don't think [opposition leader] Enda Kenny really knows what he's about and he doesn't have enough experience to lead the country, to be honest.

I want to see more of the same, without a doubt.

Bertie is the way forward.

He has the experience and the knowledge and the know how and he'll only bring us more success, hopefully.

DEREK FALLON, COUNTY GALWAY

Derek Fallon
The issue of road deaths is massive here.

There are just too many deaths on our roads.

It's down to the fact that there's no proper investment in the roads by the government, well maybe in Dublin, but not in the rest of Ireland.

I do a lot of driving as part of my job and you should see the state of some of the roads I travel on.

I'll be voting [opposition party] Fine Gael. Maybe they can do better.

ORLA BRODERICK, LOUGHREA, COUNTY GALWAY

Orla Broderick

I am concerned about the state of the health service, particularly as my husband is a GP.

Public hospitals are not in a good state and there is real inequality in waiting lists between public and private patients.

I'm disappointed in the government and [Minister for Health] Mary Harney in particular.

But I can't see Fine Gael in government, so I'm undecided as to who I'll vote for.

DAN KENNEDY, DUBLIN

Dan Kennedy
The most important thing is to keep the economy on the road it's on now.

Health is a problem, as is transport, particularly in Dublin - people spend a lot of time commuting and getting people in and out of the airport is a problem.

Also like every city in the world, crime is something we'd like to keep a lid on.

It looks like the present government are the ones to vote for.

Bertie Ahern performed well in the televised debate and that may just secure the election for him.

WILLIAM REEVES, LIMERICK

William Reeves
I don't like Fianna Fail's policies. I'm not impressed with the way they are running the country.

The people don't seem to have any say in their policies.

They should have asked the people whether they wanted the smoking ban, which they didn't.

They also imposed rubbish charges on us without asking. We are just not being consulted any more.

I have voted Fine Gael before and I'll do so again this time.

MARY RING, DUBLIN

Mary Ring
I'd like to see the same government in power again.

I think they have done quite well.

I know there are a lot of problems - health is a real problem - but I really think they should be given a chance to put them right and take the country forward.

I think Bertie has been a good leader for us. I also don't think a three-party government would get anywhere.

PHONSIE CLIFFORD, LIMERICK

Phonsie Clifford
My number one issue is how this government treats older people.

It's very difficult to gain access to an old people's home and that is a real concern for someone my age (77).

I always voted Fianna Fail, but I might give the other crowd [Fine Gael and Labour coalition] a go.

Even though they have no real experience in government, they might be able to help older people.

EOIN, DUBLIN

Eoin
Neither of the two main leaders seem to have much to offer.

It'll be the first time I've voted and I'm going to vote Greens because they seem to make sense.

They're the only ones that actually think the economy is going to slow down.

Everyone is still acting like spendthrifts here thinking it won't happen, but they're the only ones being cautious enough to predict it.

Interviews and pictures by Stephen Fottrell and James Helm.






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