18 January 2016
By Elaine Murphy
Following the party’s election launch in Cork last Tuesday, Cork Green candidates addressed the Green Party election convention in Dublin on Saturday.
Oliver Moran, candidate for Cork North Central, spoke about the need for political reform and local government reform in Cork:
“We know that power in a republic is something that is shared — and blossoms because of it. The purpose of the politics that we pursue is to encourage that blossoming. To share power as widely as possible so that people with ideas and drive can rise and offer us their vision for Ireland.”
“That’s why we oppose the destruction of local government through the dissolving of town councils and the merging of councils in so-called “reforms”. It’s why we’re fighting it in Cork right now. Unless power is at everyone’s doorstep then you can be sure it is in the hands of a few.”
“It’s why our councilors are leading the way in calls for greater use of participatory budgeting. And it’s why we support citizen initiatives to directly empower people to initiative laws and call referendums. Both nationally and locally in their own communities.”
Lorna Bogue, candidate for Cork South Central, spoke about the effects of housing and homelessness on Cork:
“It’s time to recognise that living in a rented house doesn’t make you a second class citizen. That for more and more of our citizens, a rented house is a home, not a stopgap. If people feel secure in their homes then they are in a much better position to contribute to the economy and to their communities. Excessive rents hollow out our cities by destroying existing communities and preventing young people from contributing to vibrant innovative urban spaces. This has particularly affected Cork city economically and is happening all over the country.”
“In terms of rent supplement, it is frequently the case that relatively small amounts of financial assistance can allow a person in Emergency Homeless Accommodation to secure sustainable private rented accommodation. The assistance may be access to a deposit, rent in advance or a slightly higher rent level required to access accommodation near to social connections and supports. Such small payments can result in substantial savings in expensive Emergency Accommodation.”
“But since the costs accrue to the Department of Social Protection and the savings accrue to the Local Authority, it can be difficult for public servants to justify such discretionary payments. Once again,we see the government taking incorrect decisions in order to get good figures for their department for a nice sound bite. By moving the discretion on these issues to within the Local Authority, flexibility to make informed decisions that are in the interest of the person who is homeless and of the taxpayer should be facilitated.”
Cormac Manning, candidate for Cork North West, spoke on the effects of flooding and climate change on families in Cork:
“On the topic of refugees, we await the imminent arrival of the first Syrians coming to the State under the EU sharing programme. Along with many of us I look forward to welcoming these new families to Cork North West and showing them a real Cork welcome.”
“There are some people who have some concerns. In particular, there is a minority of people in Ireland who urge us to close the border which would leave people helpless in their homes to be bombed by Assad and ISIS and Cameron and Obama and Putin. All I can say is that if you look at the history of this country, I am very grateful that in our hour of need, as our people died on the streets during the Famine, the authorities in Ellis island didn’t take that same attitude.”
“Yes, sure, while the main perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on Paris last November were Belgian, some may have entered Europe undercover. But we know that they don’t represent the vast majority of people who are coming here fleeing hell. The terrorists of Daesh/ISIS represent refugees arriving in Europe about as well as the dissident IRA represent me.”
Natasha Harty, candidate for Cork East, had spoken at the party’s Cork launch about the importance of resisting TTIP and protecting the Cork Harbour from environmental damage.
Johnny O’Mahony, candidate for Cork South West, used the opportunity to re-state his calls for the West Cork Railway route to be re-opened as a greenway from Cork city into West Cork.
Speaking in Cork for the election campaign launch, Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, said he expected the Greens to make a return to Dáil Éireann in year, winning back four seats lost in 2011.