I have been involved in activity for a number of years in a range of capacities including as a football coach founding member and chairperson of my local residents association and for over 6 years volunteered with the community group Love Leitrim who played a very significant role in bringing about a ban on fracking in Ireland. I believe a strong independent and progressive voice is missing and is very much needed on Leitrim County Council.
I am married to Dervilla and I am the parent of two girls. I worked for several years as a secondary school teacher in Sligo. I am now employed as a development worker with Sligo Traveller Support Group. I am not a member of any particular political party. I am running as an Independent as I feel that is the best way to get across and implement progressive ideas to all sections of the community.
Up to now family and work commitments have been a significant issue in me not standing previously. However I feel as a country we are at a critical turning point especially in relation to the challenges posed by Climate Change and I believe that we all have, whether that be as a county councillor, TD, activist, member of Tidy Towns, or your local sports club, have a responsibility to contribute to developing a sustainable future for generations to come. I strongly believe local authorities can and should play a leading role in this.
My main priorities include: provision of more public housing, climate action and bio diversity initiatives, increased support for sporting and voluntary organisations, increased mental health and youth services, more funding for carers, opposition to planting of Sitka Spruce, and support for disadvantaged, minority and new communities.
The response so far has been very positive. People are happy to see a new face putting themselves forward and the welcome on the doors has been very warm. There have been a wide variety of issues raised including the need for more public housing, climate change, local authorities taking private estates under their management, and the decline of the main street to name a few.
People are frustrated especially with cuts to or unavailability of various health supports. There is also a real sense that not enough is being done to support rural and small town communities like the one I am running in. For me a key part of my campaign is the immediate increase of state built social housing. The current system of relying on the private market is not sustainable either financially for local authorities or tenants who have no security.
I am an opponent of the direct provision system and believe it is one of the most inhumane and degrading and inefficient methods to accommodate people when processing asylum applications. It is a having a huge toll on the physical and mental health of those families within it. As people with centuries of experience of forced immigration, racism, and discrimination we of all countries should have a system that treats people with dignity and respect.
Councillors have play a very significant role in keeping communities alive such as in sourcing financial and other supports to maintain and start local enterprises. The area I am running is a full of vibrant community based enterprises and sustainable initiatives that provide employment and training opportunities. Places such as The Glens Centre, Leitrim Sculpture Centre, and Organic Centre to name a few are very much dependent on local supports which I would fight for if elected.
I voted to repeal the 8th Amendment. It isn’t acceptable that women in the region still continue to have to travel. I also support exclusion zones around any healthcare facilities offering abortion services to prevent people from gathering.
I oppose water charges and will oppose any attempt to introduce them in future. Access to water is a human right and it water should be paid for through general taxation.
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