What I’m fighting for

We have everything we need in Ireland to build a great society and, as a TD, I intend to ensure our government is not only a safe pair of hands for the economy, but has a positive, inclusive social vision for our country. Below are some of the policy ideas I will pursue as a TD, under the themes of thriving & sustainable economy, high-quality public services, strengthened communities, and deeper democracy.

A Thriving & Sustainable Economy

Creating a great society requires a thriving economy. In the past, we have been overly reliant on foreign investment and a boom-and-bust building cycle for job creation and now, as Ireland recovers from the economic recession, we rely on emigration, zero-hour contracts, and workers earning less than what is needed for their families to live a decent life. Ireland has all of the talent, creativity and work ethic we need to create one of the greatest societies in the world yet this potential has yet to be realised and our private sector will need to be facilitated to make this society a reality. As we return to full employment we must ensure that these jobs are economically sustainable, make full use of people’s talents, give people dignity in their work and ensure our people are well and consistently paid so that families can plan for their future. To make this happen, we need to:

  1. Build Innovation Centres to reduce start up costs and incentivise entrepreneurship
  2. SME case officers to support businesses to navigate regulatory requirements
  3. Fairer budgets that reduce the inequality gap between rich and poor
  4. Incentivise Labour Planning in large companies – employers pay higher PRSI when relying on zero hours contracts.
  5. Improve training in private and public sector, including deep reform of Job Bridge and SOLAS/FAS

High-quality Public Services

I believe that the role of government is a broader one that should include providing high quality public health, education and childcare services as well as providing a robust social safety net. The current reality is that many of our public services are creaking, with a bloated management structure and frontline morale at an all-time low. We don’t have an effective childcare service despite compelling evidence that this has a massive long-term return on investment and is one of the most effective ways to reduce social inequality. We can create a public service that is the envy of the world without extreme levels of taxation by using the money we give to government efficiently. To get this started, we must:

  1. Invest in technology to improve public service accessibility, quality and efficiency
  2. Move more of our spending from administration to frontline services
  3. Boost morale and restore the pride of our frontline staff
  4. Bring greater leadership and smart decision-making into the public service
  5. Give an equal start to all children by providing accessible, quality childcare to all families

Strengthened communities

A large part of our happiness comes from being part of communities of family, friends and neighbours. Government can’t create these communities but it should facilitate them. We also have chronic problems with affordable and social housing supply – the rental market in Ireland is in crisis, and families are struggling to find homes. We need to ensure that housing systems are flexible, and that habitats meet citizens needs. To strengthen our communities, we need to:

  1. Greater investment in community centres, the arts and sport
  2. Provide greater supports to voluntary initiatives and charities
  3. Create stability in affordable housing market so that institutional investors can build
  4. Build more social housing and reduce waiting lists for vulnerable families
  5. Long-term land planning that ensures sustainable cities, towns, villages and rural areas

Deeper democracy

Irish politics and the public service have failed to inspire the trust, confidence and support of the Irish people. We need to deepen our democracy – moving legislative power away from Cabinet to the Dáil, moving local issues from TDs to the local authorities and encouraging people to give public service and play a bigger role in their communities.

  1. Bring in more Expert Ministers through the Seanad to ensure Ministers have real experience in their roles
  2. Giving the Dáil and Seanad a real role in legislation by loosening the whip
  3. Building a culture of giving public service
  4. Restoring trust in politics and our public service
  5. Giving greater transparency on decision-making and impact of government decisions on state finances, poverty and equality

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