I have been one of the few Independent County Councillors fortunate enough to secure a nomination on the Industrial and Commercial Panel in the upcoming Seanad Elections.
We are so fortunate as public representatives to have such a rewarding job, but in the current climate, it is also extremely challenging.
And having met so many County Councillors while canvassing around the country, there is a real frustration at the lack of support we get in helping us to help our constituents.
We have a real opportunity to change the way we do politics in this country, as long as we work together.
As an Independent County Councillor on South Dublin County Council I have been very fortunate to secure a nomination on the Industrial and Commercial Panel.
As a 43-year-old mum-of-two, I am a full-time elected representative and feel more can be done to support us as we work to support our constituents.
While canvassing in the past few weeks, what is becoming clear from speaking to fellow Councillors is that there is a real frustration at the erosion of our powers following the 2014 Local Government Reform Act – and the fact that too few voices in the Seanad spoke up on our behalf. I promise to change that.
If elected my main issues are:
- Support for SMEs. As a former small business owner and Journalist, I am all too aware of the challenges facing those providing valuable employment and opportunities to our economy. And these people are the ones funding our Councils through rates and so we need to do more to foster growth and support in this area.
- Caring for Carers & Respite Resources. For those selfless family members taking on the challenge of caring for our most vulnerable citizens, the daily struggle is exhausting enough without having to battle the system as well. They need to be recognised for their incredible contribution to our society, not penalised for taking the financial burden off the Government, with proper respite resources in place.
- Special Needs and Disability Sector. As a mum of a child with Additional Needs, I know first-hand how broken the system is and that only those working on the ground can offer the long-term solutions needed to provide proper support for those struggling to cope every day.
- Rural Divide. As a Councillor on South Dublin County Council, I represent the Rathfarnham area, which includes the uplands of Bohernabreena and Glenasmole and work closely with sheep farmers whose families have worked the land for six generations. I am also from a farming family in West Cork so know the different challenges facing rural and urban communities.
- Homeless Crisis. We are failing families. Every week I deal with families in crisis – some can’t even get on the housing list just because they have a couch to crash on. More must be done to deal with this and modular housing is not the solution.
- Childcare. As a working mother of two children I know the pressure parents are under to try and deal with the expense of childcare. More needs to be done to deal with this issue.
- Nursing Home Crisis. My own 95-year-old grandmother is in a public nursing home because the private ones wouldn’t take her – as a high dependency patient, they simply wouldn’t make any money out of her. This is a situation thousands of families face every day, but we don’t have enough public nursing home places to meet the demand and the situation is only going to get worse.
As a committed campaigner and activist, I feel best placed to represent you in Seanad Eireann.
Please vote Cllr. Deirdre O’Donovan No. 1 on the Industrial and Commercial Panel or your highest possible preference.