My comments after being selected as General Election 2018-21 candidate for Green Party in Dublin Fingal

11th November, 2017

Fingal needs progressive, hardworking representatives that are constructive and are not duped by empty spin that seems to be increasingly mistaken for good government. This government which is effectively a Fine Gael and Fianna Fail coalition is a very stagnant one that is largely unwilling and unable to tackle to big core issues that are facing the country and Fingal. It is a government of stagnation which is being spun as stability. It is a government of fear and reticence being spun as prudent and careful.

JoeConvention2017 (2)

Two of the big issues that underline this approach are the governments decisions on the big issues of the housing and homelessness crisis and the climate change challenge which the government has been totally incapable of seeing for its huge economic and social potentials. The world via the Paris Agreement has decided to move on from the inaction phase and restructure economic, energy and transport systems but curiously government is looking backwards on this issue rather than forwards. From an economic point of view this is infuriating and tragic. Adaptation to new systems as mentioned is a huge opportunity for developed economies like Ireland but there is a failure of political vision in this respect and unfortunately the new Taoiseach is confirming the old saying of ‘all style and no substance’ with no big decisions being made to move Ireland in a different direction in the recent budget, despite previous positive soundings.

It’s the housing crisis that really has shown that this government is incapable of making the decisions needed to bring the change we are all looking for. The ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan is already proving to be wholly inadequate, but it is reflective of a government that has made a clear policy decision and choice when it comes to the housing and homelessness crisis. This government has left the housing and homelessness crisis largely to the markets in an unacceptable ‘wait and see approach’, which is primarily benefitting developers. This is not the only approach and is not an acceptable approach when the lives of thousands of children are being damaged for a longer and longer period of time as this crisis grows ever longer and ever larger. There is denial about the scale and depth of the problem and denial about the ineffectiveness of the so-called solutions being relied on. In any other field the people tasked with solving this problem would have been shown the door.

It is very difficult for people in Fingal to have faith in government when they continue to see the same mistakes being made over and over again. There are housing developments and areas all over Fingal poorly served by the Celtic Tiger era that are still suffering from inadequate transport, community and educational infrastructure. Now we see further poorly planned and supported development often in areas where these infrastructure issues have not been resolved.

Connected to this shallow and disingenuous approach is an over emphasis on image and the appearance of change – this has been crystallised is the €5m spin office in the Department of the Taoiseach. In short, we have a vain and fearful government that is more interested in tweeting to improve image and only tweaking policy as it is afraid to make the big decisions that this country needs.

The Green Party is growing again, and our three parliamentarians have seriously punched above their weight. With minority government and coalition government the reality for the foreseeable future the Green Party is in an increasingly strong position to be a positive and progressive influence in the direction the country needs to go. I commit to being a tireless and progressive voice for Dublin Fingal and a representative that will not be sucked in by the spin and complacency of this government.