The magazine for the deaf and hard of hearing examines the forthcoming election, with representatives from the five main parties answering questions from the deaf community.
Have you decided who to vote for in the General Election on Friday 25th? Do you know what to ask when politicians and canvassers come to your door? Do you know how to vote or how your vote will help form the next Government of the country? This week Hands On will help you to answer all these questions.
Hands On asked the Deaf community what YOU wanted to ask those running for election and we put those questions to a representative from each of the five main political parties - Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Féin: where does their party stand on the official recognition of Irish Sign Language? How do they plan to improve job opportunities for Deaf people? What about education - will they improve access? And was the IMF/EU bailout a good deal for this country?
Alvean and Sarah Jane are also here to explain everything you need to know about how to vote, how to check if you're registered and how to fill in the ballot paper, as well as what happens to your vote after its been cast!
Remember, this is our chance to have a say in how our country is run. It is important to use your vote and research as much as you can to help you make an informed choice.
Sometimes candidates are elected by as little as 20 votes, so your vote really does count!
How do check if I am registered to vote?
To find out if you are registered to vote go to http://www.checktheregister.ie and click on the link to your county council. Unfortunately if you are not registered to vote it's too late to do so for the election on 25th February but you can register now to make sure you can vote in future elections/referendums etc - simply download the form on the website or visit your local Citizens Information Centre http://centres.citizensinformation.ie/.
How do I know who is running in my constituency?
RTÉ news has a site dedicated to the election: http://www.rte.ie/news/election2011/
Here you can find the names of all candidates, including independents, who are running in your constituency.
How do I get more information about parties and candidates?
To find out more about a party and their policies and also which candidates are running for a party, go to the party websites. The five main parties in Ireland are:
Fianna Fáil: http://www.fiannafail.ie
Fine Gael: http://www.finegael.ie
The Green Party: http://www.greenparty.ie
The Labour Party: http://www.labour.ie
Sinn Féin: http://www.sinnfein.ie
Remember, there are also other, smaller parties in Ireland as well as a large number of independent candidates who are not connected to any political party. Make sure you find out the names of everyone who is running in your constituency (using the RTE website link above) and then do some research! Most candidates have their own websites where they outline their policies and provide contact information - search for their name online and you should find a website dedicated to them.
Hands On © 2011