O’Brien vows to transform local politics in Fingal

1st January, 2014

Politics in Ireland is dominated by a particular profile of person – white Irish settled middle aged males. But of course this is not the profile of society at large. Building on the success and example of the Opening Power to Diversity scheme[1] in Leinster House and with a view to making politics more representative of society at large I am proposing the establishment of a Councillor Intern scheme with a view to opening up politics and in the long term making it more representative of society. There will be special emphasis on creating opportunities for women and ethnic minorities. The scheme will be open to those living in Fingal in the 18-30 age bracket. A minimum of 50 % of the interns placed under the scheme would also be required to be female.

The interns would work beside the Councillor for 1-2 days per week for a six month period. Interns would contribute to the work of the Councillor at a policy level but also accompany and observe the Councillor in his/her representative role at the community level, allowing them to experience all sides of politics. This would provide the intern with a unique learning experience of front line politics that they can bring with them on whatever career path they choose. The goal is also that the person will add their own knowledge and experience to the work carried out by the Councillor.  It is hoped that in the long term at least some participants on the scheme will consider running for local office themselves in the future, although the learning from the internship would be of use in a wide variety of fields. The days the intern would work would be negotiable between the Councillor and intern.

I will work to get backing from Fingal County Council for this idea. The support and endorsement of other organisations and political parties will also be sought. I met the young people of Fingal Comhairle na nÓg late last year and got some positive feedback on the then draft proposal.

I am also inviting ideas, thoughts and submissions on this proposal. Please contact me at joefingalgreen@gmail.com