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Fancy living with local TD for few days?

Bill Hughes.

Bill Hughes.

BY SEÁN P. FEENY
HAVE you ever wished your TD could walk a mile in your shoes? An award-winning television company is offering a Donegal household the opportunity to welcome a local TD into your home.

Mind the Gap Films is looking for households in the Lifford, Donegal, Ballyshannon, Gweedore or Killybegs area, who are in receipt of social welfare payments, to take part in a new TV series.

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For five days in October 2014, the production company would like to offer you the chance to play host to a local member of Dáil Éireann in your own home. The identity of the TD remains a secret for now.

This is the perfect opportunity to give your local TD first-hand experience of what life is like for you and your family in 2014 and to talk about what changes you think are necessary.

This series, which will be directed by award-winning Donegal director Garry Keane from Ballyshannon, aims to allow real people to engage on a personal level with their representatives in government in the hope of starting a conversation that could lead to real change.

Producer, Bill Hughes said the programme makers were ‘sick and tired’ of people receiving social benefits being misunderstood.
“The majority of people on benefits are not there out of their own making, it’s because of the downturn and they are doing their best to better their lives.

“This programme is not only an opportunity for the politician to walk in their shoes, but also the household to walk in the politician’s shoes and hopefully some level of mutual understanding will come out of this,” the well-known producer said.

Bill said the programme will not be ‘warm, soft and fuzzy’ television, but on the other hand it will also not take a ‘tabloid’ approach.

“We want to choose a household in Donegal based on what they have to say, people who are trying to get on with their lives as best they can, who can articulate and ask sensible questions.

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“We don’t want rants, but rather people with a genuine interest in trying to cope better with the hand they have been dealt with and hopefully the politician can provide some answers.”

The producer stressed that the programme will not be a ‘white wash’ and things will not be ‘made easy’ for the politician involved, either. “During the one-hour programme a lot of questions will be asked which hopefully will create a good debate,” he said.

“We are hoping to get a good response from this programme which will be landmark television in Ireland. That’s why we wanted to find politicians who are passionate and have something to say about certain issues in their areas which we chose carefully to have a good spread.”

The producer said he wants the programme to be rewarding experience for everyone involved. “I want it to be rewarding for the household, the politician, but also the viewer who will hopefully learn something from watching the programme.

“We want it to have a real impact and we will try and make it as meaningful as possible as we don’t want to waste anybody’s time doing this.”

If you are interested in getting involved please contact Jennifer in the Mind the Gap Films office on 01 6624742 or at jennifer@mindthegapfilms.com. A fee will be offered to the chosen household. The programme will be broadcast on television in early 2015. Deadline: Friday, October 10, 5pm.

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