I have a track record in speaking out for the Protection of the Vulnerable in our communities; this includes the welfare of older people, the need to provide services for people with Disabilities and special needs. I have been a consistent advocate for families and services in our local communities and towns. I have spoken about the need to address the hopelessness created by the recession by encouraging investment and jobs in the Border, Midlands and West region.
Protecting the Vulnerable
I am a consistent advocate for the rights and dignity of older people. As we all age, I feel that older people deserve to have proper services and standards in nursing home and health care. I have called on the government to introduce comprehensive funding for hospice services in our region.
I have criticised the Minister for failure to tackle barriers which people with disabilities face in education and accessing services.
I have called on the government to fund a properly resourced national suicide prevention strategy; I feel that with the right approach we can have the same success in reducing suicide as we have in reducing road deaths.
I am a lecturer in a 3rd level institute, I am committed to the opportunities education provides for our young people, there is a tradition of promoting education in communities across Ireland, I have spoken out about the need to protect small schools in towns and communities across our region. I have also condemned any attempt to reintroduce 3rd level tuition fees, additionally I have criticised the current high ‘administrative’ fees levied on students and their families.
A well-funded education system is key to our social and economic recovery. To be competitive we must maintain our standards, particularly in maths, science and languages. Our schools need restored funding for posts of responsibility to enable career progression for our teachers and a quality education for students.
Standing up for belief and values
I support parental choice for the teaching of religion in our schools. The reason for the enduring support for denominational schools is that tens of thousands of parents, including many who wouldn’t regard themselves as particularly religious want something more than mere toleration of their beliefs. I have called on the Minister for Education to respect the choices of parents in what type of school they would like their children to attend.
Since 2007, I have proposed measures to promote better standards of end-of-life care and to assist victims of human trafficking. I also introduced the Stem Cell Research (Protection of Human Embryos) Bill.
I was a founding member of the Oireachtas cross-party Human Dignity group, which promotes ethical laws for the protection of human life from conception to natural death. I have a strongly Pro-life record, both in the Oireachtas and on in the national and local media.
Protecting Services in our Communities
We are seeing a serious erosion of the services and resources for our small towns and rural communities. With the threatened closure of Small Schools, rural Garda Stations and the new threats to Credit Unions, I will continue to stand up for rural Ireland both nationally and in Europe. We cannot allow a return to the past where regions outside of Dublin are abandoned by the State.
Funding and support for our Communities
I have called for the proper funding of small business and farmers in our region. The funds that are available both nationally and from Europe should be targeted towards our region where they are badly needed. We are now over 5 years into this recession and the West, Midlands and the Border counties are being abandoned to joblessness and emigration once again. I will fight for easier to access to funds for our business and infrastructure for our region.
Rural Poverty and Isolation
It is surprising that very little is written or discussed about rural poverty and isolation which many people suffer in our communities. I am committed to protecting rural transport schemes and other supports to our communities. I will work to make funds available to support our communities for both Dublin and Brussels.
Tábhacht na Gaeilge
Creidim go láidir i dtábhacht na teanga dár gcultúr. Labhraím an Ghaeilge go rialta sa Seanad, agus ní hamháin nuair atá an teanga féin faoi chaibidil. Tacaím le cuspóirí na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge agus le ceart tuismitheoirí oideachas trí Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil dá bpáistí. Cuirfidh mé in aghaidh aon iarracht fáil réidh leis an nGaeilge mar ábhar riachtanach don Ardteist. Oibreoidh mé go dicheallach chun a chinntiú go bhfuil seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge ar fáil ar bhunús níos leithne ón earnáil Stáit agus Poiblí.
We need a reformed political system at national and local level. It’s time that TDs and Senators became more effective legislators. I have called on the government to properly reform Local Government so that it has more power to deal with local matters.
I support further reforms to the expenses system – my expenses have consistently been among the lowest in Leinster House