WHO’S AFRAID NOW?
With only one week to run until the general election, what is becoming very obvious is that the current incumbents in the Dail are getting extremely worried and extremely panic stricken.
The attacks on Sinn Fein through the Denis O’Brien led media are a prime example of the nervousness of Fine Gael and Labour. The government spin doctors appear to be frazzled around the edges, dazed and stunned for allowing such attacks to take place, knowing full well that such attacks will only result in greater resistance from those already displeased with the performance of the government and driving the popular vote directly into the ballot boxes for Sinn Fein.
However, there is another side to the election that is equally unsettling the government and that is the rise of the smaller parties and the Independents. Never in the history of the state has so many individuals banded together to form smaller parties but also to come forward as individuals and challenge the existing parties for the public vote. I have interviewed several of the newcomers over the last few weeks and the glue that joins them all is the clawing need to change what they see as not only a highly corrupt government but also one that represents and supports European, banking and corporate interests over and above the people who they are elected to represent.
I have listed (in no particular order or preference) some candidates whose posters will be lost amongst the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer sponsored giant sized billboards that inhabit every city street and rural road. These men and women are ordinary people but with a difference. They come across as caring people, people who want what is best for not only their communities but also that of the country as a whole.
They are not thinking about a TD’s salary nor the associated expenses and neither are they prepared to take backhanders or listen to corrupt businessman who give our country a top of the list ranking in the most corrupt countries to do business in. No, these people are just like you and I, unafraid to stand up to those responsible for what is clearly wrong with our society and certainly not afraid to face down the politically backed forces of the state, sent to undermine, harass and in some cases jail those who are seen as ringleaders.
ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY LIVES
People like; Michael McDermott who is running for Direct Democracy Ireland in the Cavan – Monaghan area. Michael spends his weekends and his own holidays off work even though he has a very young family, in order to help those who are threatened with eviction from their family homes. Michael was and still is one of the leading activists that opposed the installation of water meters in the Cavan area. A community activist who also helps feed and clothe homeless people not only in Cavan and Monaghan but also in Dublin.
People like; Dubliner, Bernie Hughes, who was jailed for standing up to the system when she stood up against O’Brien’s attempt to install water meters. Bernie is a community orientated individual who puts people’s needs before her own.
People like: Michael O’Gorman who is running in Kerry. Michael is also a man who has stood up for his community and refused to be intimidated during the anti-water protests. Michael is running on the Right to Change platform which encompasses parties like Sinn Fein, Independents and smaller parties.
People like; Ken Smollen, running in the Offaly area, Ken is an ex-Garda who realised what was being done to the people was wrong and no longer wanted to be part of a system that abuses and intentionally sets out to harm its own citizens. Ken is the founder of The Irish Democratic Party who are fielding several candidates in this election.
People like; Diarmuid O’Flynn, running in Cork Northwest. Diarmuid is a journalist and the organising founder of the Ballyhea Say No group, who march in rain, hail or snow every week to rally against the bailout that has left this country in hock for generations to come.
People like; Ben Gilroy. Ben is running for Direct Democracy Ireland in the East Meath area. Ben is probably the most prominent campaigner that has come to the attention of the state when he stopped evictions throughout the country by turning the law upon the very people who sought to use it in order to justify allegiance to the Troika
People like; Ex -Garda whistleblower, John Wilson. John exposed the extraordinary corruption within the police force but brutally paid for it by the constant demonisation of himself and his family. John is an honest and straight speaker who tells it as it is. A trait that is unfortunately found wanting in most incumbent TD’s and Ministers.
People like; Stephen Manning. Stephen is an ex-teacher running in the Mayo area. Stephen is the founder of Integrity Ireland, an organisation that offers support and encouragement to those who have been affected by injustice caused by the state.
People like: Dr Katrina Hutchinson. Medical doctor and scientist who is running for Direct Democracy Ireland in the Wicklow area. Katrina is running as a candidate because she genuinely cares about people and her adopted country. Katrina believes that this country needs real serious change and wants to let the people have a say in all things that matter.
People like, Barbara Smyth. Barbara, a company director who is running as an Independent in the Longford & Westmeath constituency. Barbara is running under the Right to Change banner and is also a well respected community activist who puts her community and its people first. .
People like; Michael Mooney. Michael who is self-employed, is running in Donegal and again is a man who stood up to the installation of water meters in his community. Michael is also a community orientated individual who puts the needs of others first.
People like: Direct Democracy Ireland candidate for the Louth constituency, Anthony Connor. Anthony is also a leading community activist and is heavily involved with SOSAD, The National Land League and the anti-eviction campaign. Again another person who puts the needs of others before his own.
WHY DO THEY DO WHAT THEY DO?
Naturally I didn’t get around to naming every individual who is running as an Independent or with smaller parties but anyone who is running as or with either deserve attention as they are often smothered under the blanket of the bigger parties and ignored too boot. What is a common thread between all of the people is that they still have a huge sense of empathy and a desire to help others even when they themselves are suffering.
So what does that tell you about these people? Having spoken to many of them, they are the complete opposite of what the media portray them to be as troublemakers and in some cases terrorists. These people have husbands, wives and children to worry about but they take on the added role of community carer as well. Show me a whip led TD who falls under that category?
The only individuals who were elected into the last Dail and who stood out as people who had a backbone and who cared, were those Independents and members of smaller parties such as Clare Daly, Mick Wallace (no matter your personal views on him), Catherine Murphy, Joan Collins, Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett. These people were the only ones to take on a government that not only added to austerity but greedily added to suffering in order to enrich their wealthy friends.
This country needs more caring and empathic people such as the ones I mentioned above, to sit in Dail Eireann and to help rid the country of the kind of politics that creates family dynasties and great wealth for those who are connected. Politics and allegiances which has been a curse and a scourge on this country since the inception of the state.
For once it definitely isn’t a case of better the devil you know!