By Diarmaid O Cadhla
For some months now, a broad discussion has taken place to find a common basis for action – with the sole purpose of political empowerment of the citizens of our country.
The origin of this discussion goes back at least three years.
The discussion has advocated uniting people regardless of any policy preferences, social class, philosophy (‘ism’), gender, creed or Party affiliation (if any).
A consensus has emerged – it is based on the right of the people to decide the policy of our own state and on the representation of constituencies as provided for in our Constitution.
Our mandate has effectively been stolen by Political Parties and individuals (who are funded like mini political parties with ‘leaders’ allowances), we must end this abuse.
Without impinging on any organisations or individuals, the proposal is that we should support People’s Candidates in the 2014 elections, selected in each Local Electoral Area/Constituency. These candidates will be asked to sign THE PEOPLE’S CONTRACT and to only vote in accordance with specific mandate on each and every policy issue – effectively empowering the people in our democratic process.
There is a meeting in Cork next SUNDAY afternoon, 20th October, to finalise THE PEOPLE’S CONTRACT (final draft here) and to formulate the next phase of our common work, i.e. to bring this initiative to the people of Ireland and build the movement for People’s Candidates in 2014.
I know the distance may be difficult for many. Previous meetings have been held near Portlaoise, Athlone and other locations in the Midlands. For some weeks now the momentum has dropped a little but in Cork it is progressing at a pace. The decision to hold a meeting at a Cork venue was made some time back by those at previous meetings and reflects the input made from Cork.
I would like to underline the importance and urgency of this work, right now the people are not prepared for elections. Each of us has responsibility to step forward and do whatever we can so that an alternative does emerge – one based on democratic principle and with our own empowerment at its centre.
The meeting this Sunday has two items of agenda:
1. Adopt the final draft of THE PEOPLE’S CONTRACT – at this stage no alternatives will be discussed but any suggested edits (for improvement of the wording for sense etc.) should be submitted before that date.
2. Make plans for bringing this broad, organisation-independent, initiative to the people – all suggestions here are welcome. Discussion to date suggests that we establish “THE PEOPLE’S CONTRACT NETWORK“, being a simple collaboration between those who are agreed on this approach. The intention is to put in place an online forum/email list and provide a system for individuals and organisations to register their interest / exchange experiences etc. We would like as many organisations and websites, blogs and social media users as possible to actively promote this initiative, making it their own.
In order to be focused the meeting is once again by invitation only – of people who positively support the idea and have contributed to its formulation and clarification over many months.
You are invited, however we do need confirmation – please contact myself on 086-3805005 or email email@example.com for times and details of venue.
Holding this meeting in Cork has significance owing to the level of work already underway here. The hope is that all who attend will contribute their energy to making a success of what will be a truly historic departure in principled democratic politics – one that is not mired in vested interests of any sort.
Part of the next phase of this initiative will be to ask interested individuals or groups to organise meetings in their own local areas, the NETWORK can be used to assist such efforts. This should happen the length and breadth of the country. Already thousands are loosely aligned with the idea but this could quickly become tens and hundreds of thousands.
The crowning of this initiative will be to see hundreds of People’s Candidates contest the coming Local and European elections – these are expected in May 2014. If the idea catches the imagination of voters everywhere it is possible that our own People’s Candidates will be elected in the vast majority of wards or districts; and a totally new era in Irish politics will have begun.
This approach can be carried through to the next Dáil elections.
It is time to take responsibility.
Let’s progress this work amongst those who matter most of all – the people of Ireland!
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (@GraTire on Twitter) c/o Ionad an Phobail (visitors welcome) 99, Sráid na Dúghlaise Corcaigh.