Tuesday, 15 February, 2011.
Tuesday began with a two hour session meeting commuters outside Malahide Train Station beginning at a frosty dark hour of 7am. We handed out a four page comprehensive update on work and progress with various transport projects from extending the DART to Balbriggan to Metro to the cycle and walkway across the Malahide estuary.
Afterwards, attended a Carers’ Association meeting for election candidates as one of three who turned up. Darragh and Clare were there too but where were the Labour and Fine Gael candidates? Maybe they feel they are already elected! They missed a very informative presentation and useful discussion. The message to me was carers also need to be cared for. Their responsibilities take a toll in many ways and Government needs to support them for the sake of their own health but also because they save huge costs for the state by preventing mass-hospitalisation of elderly and infirm citizens.
Many many people I have worked with in Kinsealy Melrose area. Sadly others like Liam Rogers as a community leader and Rosaleen O’Toole as a marvellous event organizer for young people in the area, have now passed on at tragically young ages in each case. Their legacies live on however and the building work in the new Scoil an Duinnínigh and the soon to start work on the new Community Centre will provide the long-awaited facilities this community needs.
When a church group come to my Swords clinic and separately the community representatives, I thought these groups could achieve more if we all worked together for the common good. I am especially happy, therefore, that the co-operation of the community and a new church congregation Swords Baptist Church now working together are providing a shared facility which reflects tolerance, vision and a mutually beneficial resulting building for all concerned. John O’Brien in Fingal County Council tells me the public consultation six-week period is due to start soon so keep an eye on the local press or on www.fingalcoco.ie to have your say on this important development.
Tuesday, 15 February, 2011
On the site of what will shortly be the new school building for Scoil an Duinninigh in Kinsealy, Trevor Sargent gives an update on the progress of the new building.
Wednesday, 9 February, 2011
Morning spent designing newspaper advertisements. Good to let people know what I and the Green Party have done. Also good to support local businesses, of which local newpapers are an important part. Then met Green canvassing volunteers in Rush across from Millbank Theatre. Berní Ní Chuinn ó Raidió na Gaeltachta, a bhí ann freisin. Dhein sí taifead ar chúpla comhrá ag dul ó dhoras go doras liomsa. Bhuaileamar isteach ar Ghaelscoil Ros Eo freisin agus bhí píosa deas cainte againn le Sinéad, an Príomhoide, agus rang a haon agus a dó faoin bhfoirgneamh nua atá de dhith ar phobal na scoile.
In discussion with a student who was looking for work, we were exploring options. An idea I have is to develop a local market which primarily but not exclusively gives local growers a ‘shop window’ for the excellent fruit, veg and herbs grown in and around Rush. One woman lamented that she knew of great produce grown locally but could not find the same produce in the shops she visited locally.
If you wish to see this Farmers’ Market idea developed in Rush, please do register your interest by completing the survey here. Meanwhile, I have many other issues to work on from the canvass such as school places and building works, roadworks, housing needs and repairs and facilities to run a karate club.
Now off to Swords for the evening canvass and to let people know I’ll be in Swords again tomorrow afternoon with Green Party Leader, An Ceannaire John Gormley. His work in providing resources to open the expanded libraries in Rush and Malahide is certainly appreciated locally.
Published 7 February, 2011
Community , Election , Fingal news , Politics
Monday, 7 February, 2011
Began the day talking with Joe (Joe Higgins MEP that is ) on Raidio na Gaeltachta. Oh the luxury of just giving out without providing solutions or having to take responsibility, as Joe tends to do so eloquently!
Canvassing north and south of the constituency of Dublin North gave rise to many interesting discussions. A recurring theme is making ends meet. A number of constituents are now very appreciative of the substantial grants brought in to assist householders to make their homes cheaper to keep warm. One man told me he was saving €300 a month and was now paying €14 during winter months to keep his semi-detached house warm. These grants were a large catalyst for unemployed skilled workers to developed new businesses. In 2009 over 50% of new jobs created came from such Green sectors. So the message is Greens are good at creating jobs, saving families money and improving the country;s balance of payments by reducing Ireland’s need to import fossil fuels.
4 February 2011
Great start to the day meeting Rang a Sé in St. Oliver Plunkett’s National School, Malahide. This very ecologically aware school of over 900 pupils is on its fifth Green Flag. Pupils were clued in to climate change impacts, ways to have a good quality of life while using less fossil fuels. They understood locking up carbon, the importance of local horticulture in reducing the carbon footprint of food, and how organic growing methods are less carbon intensive. They exhibited innovative cycle helmet designs. Over 70 pupils had cycled to school, even on this wet and windy day. Both boys and girls took part in a very creative fashion parade displaying great ingenuity in adapting post consumer materials to be modern and fashionable. At times like this there seems to be very good arguments to reduce the voting age substantially!
There was a good reception in Lusk too. When people consider who was bringing solutions to the table in Government, then the positive impact of Green Party Ministers becomes clearer. A number of former construction workers appreciated the Green incentives for grant aiding renewable energy installations and the energy saving grants for insulation etc. Likewise the Bike to Work scheme is seen as good value and a good incentive which benefits the economy and local quality of life.
By the time we got to Kelly’s Bay in Skerries, the wind and rain were tempestuous. That at least elicited some sympathy for the dedicated high visibility vested canvassers like Diarmuid, Brian and George, but made note taking nigh impossible. Nonetheless the need for a Green Economy to be created out of this difficult transition period was clear to many householders. One thing is for sure, had we been able to harness the powerful storm force winds buffeting us this evening, the €6 billion annual import bill for oil, gas and coal, would have been knocked back massively to a more affordable level.
Swords, 3 February 2011
From a wet and windy Swords, Trevor shares some of the issues that voters are raising on the doorsteps. Tonight, education is an area that occupies a lot of peoples’ minds.
3 February 2011
Most people agree our political system is not fit for purpose. The current personality driven elections are more likely to give us a healthy crop of Jackie Healy Rae type independents than a courageous visionary capable Government acting for the common good. A NUMBER ONE vote for the GREEN PARTY is a vote to replace this outdated system, a legacy of British rule, with a reduced Dáil of 120, half elected directly and half elected from a list of experts drawn up to reflect the policy platforms of the political parties contesting the election, in accordance with the percentage of support won by the respective party.
Likewise, the economic system is a legacy of an industrial revolution and consumer society which has just imploded leaving households and countries mired in debt. We must reflect to appreciate this is not an economy which should be re-created. We need a new fit-for-purpose economy which protects the ecological systems and community infrastructure on which all life on Earth depends.
What have we left behind, only a crisis caused in part by many of us spending money we did not have, on things we did not really need, to make impressions which will not last, on people we do not really know? We must, to keep afloat as a globally open economy, pay our bills over time, but let us take hope that the new economy espoused by the Green Party is designed to meet the need for resources, the need for family space and nurturing, the need for shared spaces and community development. A fit-for-purpose economy is a Green Economy. Already in Government,we can see it was Green initiatives which were creating the sustainable jobs and making Ireland more efficient and cost effective, and household bills more affordable. I’m thinking energy insulation grants, upgrading the grid to encourage renewable energy developments. Planning Act legislation which cuts down on transport costs and investment by PPP in the likes of Metro North and electric car initiatives which free us from the shackles of ever most scarce oil dependency.
This is a reflection of some of the conversations I was having in Balbriggan, Malahide and Swords canvassing today and at our campaign launch in Dublin – when I was not painting over unsightly graffiti as the picture shows.
30 January 2011
Malahide constituents had mentioned how they would support a market of local producers, but were not impressed by stallholders coming from far away. I was delighted therefore, to be asked if I would open a local market set up by local entrepreneurs just starting out to produce attractive food and non food items for sale.
Meeting stallholders at the Malahide Market
This new Market is on every Sunday from 10am – 5pm in St Sylvester’s GAA Club on Church Road and caters for all age groups. Wonderful crafts were on display, as well as tasty samples of dishes which can be delivered or purchased there and then. Locally curry sauces were for sale and to sample, suitable for coeliacs and these would complement locally grown veg and meat. Being a cosmopolitan community, the local stallholders in some cases had moved to Malahide from countries like Canada and Italy, giving the whole event an exotic athmosphere .
Unlike other markets, this one is all indoors which may help to explain why there was such a good crowd to support these fledgling local businesses. Congratulations to Joyce, Barry and all involved in this positive venture and I hope it continues to grow and develop in ways which create employment and contribute to the overall businesses in the area. Next step is to get a few local farmers involved.
27 January 2011
The Finance Bill has now passed Report Stage in Dáil Eireann and proceeds to the Seanad for Friday and Saturday sittings. The newspapers will cover the main provisions.
However, I was aghast to hear (if my ears did not deceive me) Ned O’Keefe TD of Fianna Fáil compare the recently appointed Financial Regulator, Matthew Elderfied, to Oliver Cromwell, because the Regulator might be tougher than his predecessors on any reckless behaviour in Irish financial institutions!
Apart from the outrageous comparison between a capable, experienced man of integrity with a military commander who had innocent men, women and children put to the sword, the outrage reveals another matter.
The Green Party had to fight in Government to have truly independent and rigorous appointments made, such as Matthew Elderfield as Financial Regulator and Professor Patrick Honahan as Governor of the Central Bank. We can now see there was some resistence to these measures from within Fianna Fáil.
Hopefully the backbone shown by the Green Party in Government will be more appreciated after wild commentary such as that from Deputy O”Keefe.
Published 8 January, 2011
Community , Ireland , Justice
7 January 2011
Trevor Sargent TD has introduced a Bill in Dáil Eireann to create an offence of Economic Treason. In this short video, he calls on the Opposition parties to support the Bill.