Miriam’s Musings

Warning: Beware of the fake pollsters!

A lot of people have been fooled by so-called ‘fake pollsters’, and ‘fake market researchers’ whether they target us online, on the phone, or face to face in the street or indeed, have the temerity to knock on our doors. My reason for mentioning this is due to recent revelations that Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil activists allegedly ‘posed as market researchers for polling’ with apparently Fine Gael ‘doing similar’. This story came to light last week when it was detailed how party activists representing Sinn Féin were allegedly ‘issued with ID badges’ bearing the name of ‘a non-existent’ market research company in a bid to ascertain/gauge voters’ opinions regarding the political landscape, etc.

While this practice is extremely deceitful, it apparently appears to have been widely known to have been taking place. Therefore, if the statistics garnered by these ‘fakers’ contained any personal details then the office of the Data Protection Commission need to be all over it in a bid to find out how this bank of information is being used and stored. Let me state that if the data was kept anonymous, and it if does not contain any member of the public’s personal details, then there should be no issue with it.

On a personal level, I never engage with political  pollsters, for the simple reason I don’t have the time, I couldn’t be bothered, and I also believe that the way in which I choose to vote is my own  business. However, if you’re happy to engage with activists and like to cite the results of polls, especially when opinion moves in your direction, then read on, because, it’s my view that some of the questions you’re/we’re being asked are possibly, let’s say manipulated, in a bid to get the response the pollsters want. In addition, do bear in mind that polls are merely a snapshot of the participant’s current mood…things can change, and in many cases, this can happen quite literally overnight!

With that in mind, if I do happen to be approached by a pollster, and feel like engaging with them, for what it’s worth, here’s what I do.

I examine the wording: If I’m being targeted by email or by social media, I scan the content for spelling mistakes, inaccuracies or typos. Remember, a professional organisation has a reputation to uphold, therefore, all press releases, notifications and opinion polls will contain clean copy and accurate content.

If I’m being targeted/polled by phone, then before I answer a single question, I find out what particular call centre/organisation is making the approach, or is participating in the process. If the person asking the questions isn’t revealing their methodology, I hang up. I don’t even say goodbye, I just hang up. Remember, a legitimate pollster will be happy to ensure transparency and provide justification for disturbing you in the middle of Mare of Easttown!

The questions: It’s very important to listen to what you are being asked. For example, a legitimate political pollster will not simply want to find out how I’m voting and who I’m voting for…but why I’m  voting for them…what issues matter to me and to the particular candidate/party, etc. For what it’s worth, I hope the above helps.


Happy Father’s Day to all darling Rossie dads!

This Sunday is Father’s Day! Therefore, for those of us who, last year, couldn’t visit that special man in our lives whether due to the lockdown, the restrictions, or heartbreakingly, due to them being no longer with us, the fact remains, this weekend we get to honour the hero who helped to shape us.

With that in mind, I’d like to say a big thank you to my own darling dad, Michael Kerins, a man who never complains and who never, ever, for as long as he’s been my dad, lost his temper nor has he ever uttered a bad word about anyone…and why? Because he’s a decent and sweet human being who always sees the good in everyone. I do wish I could be more like him, but hey, we can’t all be perfect can we?

In addition, I’d also like to acknowledge all of the other amazing fathers, grandfathers, uncles, father figures, friends and male mentors who have not just touched the lives of Roscommon People readers but who have actively helped to mould them. Thank you dad, and dad figures for being there for us. We love you, we appreciate you and we could not do without you.

Can I also say a big thank you to he-who-has-the-patience-of-a-saint, and who fully understands my passion and my need to help all creatures. He is a wonderful dad to our adorable fur babies, and, I’ve got no doubt that without his help, and his emotional support, I could not have managed to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome so many beautiful sentient beings down through the years. Nor, without his help, and without his ability to ‘hold me up’ could I have coped with the amount of heartbreak I’ve had to endure due to other people’s neglect of animals – my fellow rescuers/animal welfare advocates will understand what I’m talking about. And yes, not all of these fur babies made it to their forever homes, some of them joined our family, as in, I got so emotionally attached, I could not bear to let them go, and I owe he-who-recognises-the-signs, and the quivering lip, a big thank you. I could not have done any of it without you.


We hold a grieving Tulsk family close in our hearts

I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to the heartbroken parents, to the family, to the friends and to the good people of Tulsk following the tragic, accidental death of a precious little boy last week.

The death of a child has got to be the single most agonising, earth-shattering, soul-deep and gut-wrenchingly raw experience that any parent can endure. I imagine that such an inconceivable and sudden occurrence leaves a clear and indelible mark on any family. Apart from the obvious shock, I imagine the related trauma would be so much more profound when their passing is due to unforeseen circumstances.

I do not know this bereaved family, however, I am familiar with many of the wonderful people who live in Tulsk and I do know that this close-knit community will provide a wealth of support to this family in their time of need. This level of support will extend way beyond the realms of offering condolences, calling to the door and attending any religious gatherings in solidarity with the family who will no doubt need every bit of help, understanding and comfort that I know will be available to them.

No words, absolutely none, that anyone can offer will make this family’s pain go away; however, it may help them in some small way to know that everyone at the Roscommon People HQ and indeed, every one of our readers are holding them close in our hearts. May your darling boy rest in peace.