Published 24 February, 2011
Balbriggan , Donabate , Election , Lusk , Malahide , Politics , Portmarnock , Rush , Skerries , Swords
Thursday, 24 February, 2011 – day before the election
On the final day of the campaign for election 2011, Trevor Sargent and his Green team undertake a lighting tour of the constituency. The tour concludes with a stop at the site of the future maritime museum in Balbriggan, where Trevor took the opportunity to say thanks to his team. It’s been a hectic three weeks but spirits are high.
Monday, 21 February, 2011
Wet start to the day standing from 7am at Babriggan Train Station in the rain handing out the commuter flyer. Joined by Stephen, Lorcan, Frank and Diarmuid. Hardly any litter which suggests the leaflet was interesting.
Recording a video interview for the "Ask a Green" online event
Got new tyre for €70 as old out wrecked by pothole between Oldtown and the Naul. Then Lorcan filmed Q&A session with me for Ask a Green Day event running online tomorrow.
Canvassed Dun Emer in Lusk. Many people caught in negative equity bind. I explained the Green inspired Mortgage Protection Measures.
Evening time, took up Fingal Independent invitation to a Q&A session for Dublin North candidates in the Carnegie Court Hotel in Swords. No show again from Fine Gael. Labour and Fianna Fáil reps absent too but at least they sent running mates. Finished off night with meeting to discuss progress on getting Gaelcholáiste Ghlór na Mara to be built in Balbriggan. Spoke with Tánaiste’s advisor before meeting and will do so again tomorrow morning.
Published 21 February, 2011
Balbriggan , Election , Politics
Monday, 21 February,2011
Trevor Sargent shares some more of the realities of life on the campaign trail. He’s paying a high price, having just suffered a costly reminder of the poor state of many of the rural roads in Fingal. We catch up with him in Balbriggan where he’s getting a new tyre for his car.
Published 18 February, 2011
Balbriggan , Election , Fingal news , Skerries
Friday, 18 February 2011
First things first on a Friday, I set up tea and coffee making facilities for the stallholders and helpers at Balbriggan Fish and Farmers’ Market. We expect Stephanie Moe from Bord Bia to drop by see the market as it was the first Dublin market to be awarded the Bord Bia Good Paractise Certificate.
Trevor Sargent meeting parents and teachers on the Naul Road site of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara.
Had a meeting then with some parents with buggies and teachers at the new site which will soon hopefully see construction of the first All-Irish Post Primary Secondary School serving the Dublin North / South Louth hinterland. At present there are eight primary schools, mainly Gaelscoileanna who have 460 pupils graduating who want to continue their education through Irish at this new school, Coláiste Ghlór na Mara. I have spoken with the Tánaiste/Minister’s advisor again this morning and I know the Tánaiste is ‘actively considering’ the request made for recognition and an immediate go-ahead as we have the site, the pupils and a temporary school building available right away. I expect to be talking to the Tánaiste again about this later today.
Then back to the market to buy some fresh food and ask stallholders how they are getting on. Off to Skerries then, where I got a warm Skerries welcome. We discussed everything from getting a zebra crossing to the challenges of ex-SRT staff to development work in Africa to apprenticeships to fitting hand rails and showers to farmers’ markets to services for people with Parkinson’s Disease etc.
Home for a bite to eat before heading to the Constituency to design another leaflet before the evening canvass this time in Swords. Better bring the brolly and the heavy brogues as there is the look of rain in that sky. I doubt we will be appreciating the light of a full moon tonight.
Wednesday, 16 February, 2011
Speaking from Balbiggan, Trevor Sargent describes some of the work he has been doing locally, in partcular developing safe routes to school in nearby Balrothery.
Wednesday, 17 February, 2011
Meetings in the morning about unresolved planning enforcement issues which are infuriating in the way the builders and planning authority have made the lives of residents a hell. I have huge file from fighting on behalf of the residents which involved getting a meeting for residents with the Minister for Sustainable Planning, Ciaran Cuffe TD.. I’ll try again to get satisfaction for the residents affected.
Then on to south Balbriggan and Balrothery. Glad to see the safe route needed for Balrothery NS pupils is making progress. A few months ago, I asked the Council’s Mairead Phelan to meet parents, teachers and parents when school was finishing to take a walk towards Balbriggan Golf Club with the children and a few parents. Apart from all concerned getting complimentary high-visibility vests, the plan to widen the path is now almost complete. The school will now be consulted and the work carried out over the summer holidays.
We moved then to the centre of Balbriggan and ended up in a lovely new cafe and restaurant called ‘Preserved’ on Dublin Street near George’s Square. This business grew from the stall in Balbriggan Fish and Farmers’ Market run by Karl Rogers, his father Michael and business partner Shane Mc Carthy. Having sussed what flavours of soups, pastries, savoury dishes etc went down well with Balbriggan folk and visitors, the talented chefs opened a premises to develop their business further.
It was a pleasure to see my vision of what the Market each Friday morning on the Square in Balbriggan could do. Likewise when I began Irish classes in the Bracken Court Hotel, I had a vision this could lead to establishing a local Gaelscoil. I called a public meeting to get a Coiste Bunaithe elected to make this vision a reality. Gaelscoil Bhaile Brigin and the other Gaelscoileanna in Dublin North are now so successful that tonight there is another public meeting to progress the establishment of a secondary Irish medium Gaelcholáiste Ghlór na Mara. I am very impressed by the calibre of volunteers who are doing the heavy lifting in this project and hopefully this latest vision will become a reality before long as well.
Off now to canvass more of Ros Eo this evening, before that public meeting in Halla and Bhaile, Baile Brigín.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
The fine Spring day may have been a factor in recording the largest ever number of Green canvassers to help me on any one day. Baltothery and Balbriggan looked very well in the sunshine. Canvassing my home patch as the only candidate living in Balbriggan will hopefully mean a good number of first preference votes. All manner of issues were raised from provision of school places to starting a business. The main focus however was the new kind of economy which is needed to generate the jobs and wealth to get the country rolling again. This is where the Green Party and myself locally have a proven record of generating ideas and opportunities. Todays video clip, recorded before one group of canvassers began, sets a context for this.
In the afternoon I brought those who could stay for soup and sandwiches which is another practical way to help the local economy of course. Then back to the office. Meeting constituents in such numbers creates paperwork which in itself is interesting to follow up but it does take time. So after meeting mass goers in Ballyboughal it was back to the office. Knowing all those representations have been make will make the Sunday morning meetings outside churches all the more enjoyable. Looking forward again to having my parents join me. Nothing like having one’s parents canvassing to make one feel young!
Published 12 February, 2011
Balbriggan , Election , Fingal news
Satrurday, 12 February, 2011
We join Trevor Sargent in Balbriggan train station where he is briefing his team of Green canvassers before they start calling on doors in the town. We learn some interesting facts about Trevor’s contribution to Balbriggan and the fact that he is the only Balbriggan-based candidate in the election.
Friday, 12 February, 2011
Hectic day, but very interesting. Began with Donabate Green volunteers, Jim, Rita, Roger at the Train Station meeting commuters from 7am onwards. The leaflet, Commuter flier Jan 2011 highlights my own efforts and successes in improving the transport infrastructure of Dublin North.
Headed to Balbriggan Farmers’ Market which is set up on George’s Square every Friday from 9am to 2pm. I like to provide free tea and coffee to stallholders so as to keep their spirits up while then serve the community in all weathers. The colour and vibrancy of the market brings people to the centre of the town and this benefits other shopkeepers and traders like the hotel and coffee shops in the town.
Did an interview then with Robin Kiely of the Fingal Independent in the Grand Hotel, Malahide before heading out to canvass a few doors locally along the Swords Road. Then headed for the RHA Gallery in Ely Place, Dublin 2, for the Green Party / Comhaontas Glas Manifesto. Straightforward enough with job creation and preparing the country to be free of oil dependency by 2030 being the short and long-term focuses.
Evening canvass was in Swords Manor area of Swords. Serious situations for many families with negative equity. Had many chats with people about experiences and challenges in establishing new business ideas. Difficult as the changes in tax were to encourage greater fuel efficiencies, many residents understand that leadership in a Green direction is needed to develop the new Greener economy. Given I am fighting for that last seat, I am asking voters to help me to help them by giving SARGENT No. 1 in two weeks time on Friday 25th, Polling Day.
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.