February 27, 2011 § 1 Comment
I am delighted and privileged to have been elected to represent the people of Dublin South in Dail Eireann. I am well aware of the enormous responsibility this carries, and will work hard to repay the trust that has been placed in me.
February 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Out and about in Rathfarnham today with a terrific team of canvassers. They are pictured below with an Alex White poster salvaged from a garden where it has languished for the duration of the campaign. After weeks of canvassing I feel a little bit of empathy with the sign posted in one householder’s window, which reads “Attention chien en psychanalyse”!
We are coming to the end of a difficult, challenging but very rewarding few weeks. I am really grateful to all of the constituents who took the time to share their views, debate the points and offer words of support to myself and members of the campaign team.
February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
Speaking at launch of Labour’s Manifesto for Children
If this election is about anything, it is about families, about protecting children, and about securing a better future for our young people.
Ireland has the highest proportion of children in the EU, with almost one-quarter of our population below the age of 18. Yet, for too long, Ireland has fallen short of the aspiration that an independent Ireland would be a country that treated all the children of the nation equally.
We in Labour believe that children should have the best possible start in a world that has become vastly more uncertain and precarious. But this belief is not just a pious aspiration. We are today backing it up with a specific set of proposals in a children’s manifesto that we believe will deliver genuine change for children and for families.
First and foremost, we believe that our children should not be made to pay for the current economic crisis and for this reason, Labour will not cut child benefit, particularly in the wake of recent budgets in which family incomes have already taken a substantial hit.
Labour also believes that the delay in proceeding with the referendum on children’s rights has been unacceptable. Labour will ensure that a children’s rights referendum is urgently progressed.
It is our view that Ireland’s child protection code and system should be more robust. Labour is committed to putting in place the strongest, child-centred legal framework to protect children from sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
We have led the charge in proposing measures to develop, as an urgent priority, a national strategy plan to improve youth literacy levels, and will continue to prioritise literacy as an issue.
We are also putting forward proposals to ensure that every child should be guaranteed a high-quality preschool place with clear curriculum requirements, appropriate staffing professionals, conducted in an appropriate setting.
For Labour, the protection of families, children and childhood will continue to be a priority, even in these difficult times.
February 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
A lot of people ask me what it is like canvassing. It is an intensely social activity in which the object of the exercise is to meet with as many people face to face as possible. Political scientists have confirmed that the single most important factor influencing voters is whether they have met the candidate in the flesh. Our campaign has largely been built around door to door canvassing along with shopping centre and Luas appearances. It is a bit of a slog- especially in inclement weather- but it is also hugely rewarding. Everyone on a campaign loves the “feel good” moment. Here are some of mine.
I met the boys of St. Mary’s N.S. Rathfarnham on Thursday, February 17th as they poured out thee school gates and their energy, enthusiasm and eagerness ‘to meet the candidate’ literally bowled me over. I couldn’t get near the parents as I was prevailed upon to sign journals, hand out canvass cards and give ‘high fives’ to my junior fan base.
Outside Rathfarnham Church on Sunday morning, February 19th a woman approached me and gently said “ You take care, we’ll get you there.” After another service elsewhere in the constituency an army officer recently returned from a stint abroad told me proudly that he had already cast a postal ballot and voted Alex White number 1.
In Whitechurch estate, Sunday afternoon, February 19th a bunch of us were moving down the street. A man crossed the road, held out his hand and said “This is your time, this is your election. You have my number one vote.” It’s moments like those that keep the bounce in my step, and that also remind me of what a privilege it is to be out on the stump, seeking a mandate from the people of Dublin South.
February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
I spent a leisurely hour on Friday morning at the Whitechurch Parish Cake sale and coffee morning jointly hosted by the Whitechurch Parish Mother & Toddler and Whitechurch Parish ‘Drop in’ Centre. Whitechurch parish church is located on a narrow, tree lined road, in a part of the constituency that retains its rural feel. This rural feel was evident in the warm welcome we received and general feeling of high energy about the place. For the record, I came away with a cheese loaf, six chocolate éclairs, an apple tart, a madeira cake and a bag of homemade doughnuts. A decent haul of goodies but not all for me….my son Fintan devoured the whole bag of doughnuts within minutes of my arrival home.
Later on Friday we met the kids from St. Patrick’s N.S, Ballyroan. I really enjoy doing the ‘meet and greet’ outside the schools. The children are full of enthusiasm for the election and they love to meet the candidates in the flesh. It’s a measure of the interest that parents and teachers impart that our young people are so civically engaged. I must admit it’s a bit hard to keep your feet on the ground when lovely young school girls come up to tell you that they “love you.” But being viewed as an object of affection certainly makes a change from acting as a ‘shock absorber’ on the doorsteps’ of irate constituents!
February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
“The election that will take place two weeks from today will set the direction in Ireland for the next two decades. At this election, we must, all of us, ask the question: where do we want to take our country. It is a question for each of us, but one that we can only answer together. Le Cheile, as One Ireland.” Eamon Gilmore, Leader of the Labour Party
We launched our Manifesto at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin early this morning. The 89-page document is split into the three themes of our election campaign: Jobs, Reform and Fairness.
The party is committed to providing a detailed plan to get people back to work and to create a modern, outward looking economy. The manifesto sets out how we would fix what is a broken democratic and governmental system. It also commits the party to a basic threshold of decency – a bottom line below which nobodyshould fall.
If ever there was a time to adopt the 100+ proposals contained in the 2011 manifesto, now is the time. We cannot become an insular, conservative-thinking country. Labour believes that Ireland’s best days are yet to come.
To download and read the Manifesto, visit http://labr.ie/manifesto11