Editorial - Democracy is a two way street

Complaining about politicians is something of a national pastime in Ireland.

People complain about the things they do while others complain that they don’t do enough.

No doubt this is the same the world over but in our society, where politics seems to impinge on all things, it is an ever- present topic of discussion.

At each election, those who make the effort to go out to vote choose who they want to represent them and act on their behalf at whatever level - local council, in the Assembly or at Westminster.

For many that is where their direct involvement in the political process ends. After this the only connection the majority of people have with the process is complaining about the activity, or more often than not, the inactivity of politicians.

Of course, there is often grounds for complaint about our political process and people are fully entitled to voice their frustrations.

We live in a participative democracy, however, where those we elect are accessible and should be accountable to the electorate.

If people merely grumble about their elected representatives without doing anything about it, they are letting them off the hook - plus undermining their own complaints.

Now, as we face into local government and European parliament elections, people have a great opportunity to make their politicians - and would-be politicians - work for them.

Write letters, make phone calls, challenge canvassers when they come seeking votes.

Democracy is a two-way street. If the public don’t make moves, and occasionally prod their elected representatives, they’ll find that their politicians may be less likely to be travelling in the right direction.