A lot will be said about the Green Party over the next few weeks and I’m sure plenty of people will seek to write our epitaph. It’s too early to attempt a full analysis of what went wrong at this stage, but we do need to start shaping that debate.
Firstly though, I like to say that I’m hugely grateful to the people who voted Green in this election, both nationally and here in Dublin West. It is a real confidence boost to see that, despite all that has happened, over 40,000 people kept faith with the party and our vision for the country.
Obviously, the results are hugely disappointing for me personally and for the entire Party. However, anyone who is serious about their membership of the Green Party understands that we are in politics for the long haul, and that the journey is never going to be easy. The issues we care about; our environment, our community and creating a just society, are too important to be ignored.
I intend to work, both nationally and locally, to rebuild the Green Party and regain the trust that was lost during our period in Government. As a party, we need to reflect on the mistakes that were made over the last three and a half years, but also be proud of the significant achievements we did obtain. By having a open and frank internal dialogue, I think we can bring ourselves to a position where we can develop, both organisationally and on the policy front, and prepare for successful Local and European election campaigns in 2014.
I’d like to thank everyone who I have met or who have contacted me over the 3 weeks of this campaign.
I always enjoy knocking door to door and discussing the issues with voters. People have been very honest with me on their views about what has happened in Ireland and the direction in which the country should now go. I’ve received a huge amount of feedback regarding the Green Party’s role in government: much of it critical, some of it positive.
Like all politicians, I’m seeking your No.1 Vote today. However, even if I’m not elected, I intend to continue to represent the Green Party in Dublin West and work on the many issues, both local and national, that our community faces.
On Friday I attended the launch of our General Election Manifesto – ‘Renewing Ireland’.
You can find a link to it, some issue specific policy documents and information on our achievements over the last 3 years here.
Green Party Dublin West candidate, Roderic O’Gorman, has endorsed the ‘Get on Board for Youth Mental Health’ campaign. The campaign is being run by a number of youth groups, to promote youth mental health within the political agenda.
“I’m delighted to support this really important campaign. Mental health issues can effect up to 1 in 5 young people. Intervention at an early stage offers relief, but also prevents these problems getting worse as the individual ages. However, this requires that the proper services are in place”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
The Get on Board for Youth Mental Health campaign is being run by four youth groups: Foroige, Belong To, Reach Out and Headstrong. The campaign are asking candidates in the general election to pose with a mock bus ticket showing that they are ‘on board’ for supporting youth mental health. The climax of the campaign will be in the final week, when a large turquoise double-decker bus will tour the country.
“The key aim behind this campaign is to highlight the importance of youth mental health at this stage to election candidates, with a view to making further progress on the issue in the next Dail. If elected in Dublin West, it is certainly a cause I will champion”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Green Party Dublin West candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on the next Minister for the Environment to take action to limit the amount of posters that candidates can use during elections. He was speaking after high winds caused hundreds of election posters to be ripped from polls and strewn around Dublin West.
“The large number of election posters that have been blown down over the last few days proves why we need to move away from the current approach to election posters. Not only have the posters created an awful mess, but hundreds of cable-ties have been left attached to telephone and lamp posts across Dublin West. I have seen some with up to ten separate cable ties flapping in the wind, now that all the posters are blown off”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“Personally I have always tried to use a relatively small number of posters, as I think myself and my team should be spending as much time as possible knocking on doors. It strikes me as madness that politicians and parties spend such a large amount of money on pictures of ourselves. Surely, there are more effective ways of getting our message out to the voters?”.
“In France for example, each party is entitled to erect a poster and manifesto sign in a designated location in each village of the constituency. This would be a much more satisfactory approach, as it still gives candidates the opportunity to advertise their policies, but in a much more orderly manner”.
“I hope that the next Minister for the Environment will bring forward some reasonable proposals to deal with the issue of election posters. In the meantime, it is vital that myself and all the other candidates do our bit to clean up our posters but also to remove cable ties from lamp-posts, even if they aren’t our own”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Over the last two years, residents of Castleknock have been strong in their opposition to the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy (UCS), which was foisted upon them by the Council management. Their opposition is based on the fact that it would allow for completely inappropriate development in a historic village like Castleknock. Over the last three years since the UCS was first mooted, I have worked alongside residents in trying to change it and have opposed the major development in the centre of the village based upon it.
Regrettably, the views of residents were completely ignored by councillors from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, who along with some independents and two Labour Party councillors, voted not to remove the Urban Centre Strategy from the Draft Fingal County Development Plan.
Ironically, the vote was passed by a margin of one [p2320-1]. A local Fianna Fail councillor who narrowly beat me in Castleknock in the Local Elections in 2009, abstained rather than following residents wishes and voting against the UCS. If I had been elected instead of her, we could have had a tied vote and pressured the Mayor to use his casting vote against the UCS.
In my recent submission on the final stage of the Draft Fingal Development Plan, I have called on the Council to insert a provision stating that no planning permission will be granted for buildings in Castleknock village over three storeys. This can be done by making an amendment to the reference to Castleknock village in the Strategic Overview of the Development Plan.
I’m calling on both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors to support my proposal. As we enter into a general election campaign, these politicians must stop ignoring the wishes of locals and vote to ensure that there are at least some controls on development in Castleknock village.
Looking forward to taking part in the Dublin West candidates debate being run by Phoenix FM on the 16th Feb, in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, at 8:00PM.