Alan McMenamin

Stranorlar, Independent

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The National Women’s Collective – Donegal Women’s Network sent an ‘Open Invitation’ to all 2014 local election candidates to respond to questions that have been identified as areas of concern by voters in Donegal.

Each candidate was  invited to respond and to pledge to undertake specific actions if they are successful and elected onto Donegal County Council.

This we believe will give the electorate an insight into each candidate as well as giving the candidates an open forum which could be helpful in securing votes.

Below are the questions with the candidates response.

YOUR CANDIDATE ALAN MCMENAMIN
QUESTIONS AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?  RESPONSES My background is in Community Development and Social Inclusion/Justice.  I have advocated with and for people, especially those experiencing difficulties, for over 20 years through ISPCC, EAPN, INOU and locally on the ground with organisations that I have started.I have worked for a local authority and have the personal presence to work and consult with people from every available opportunity.  I’m am invested in the area which I was born and bred and believe that we need a solution focused approach with one key element which has been missing for decades, “Common Sense”.  Politics and local politics should be about the people and not the politician.  I offer my community based ethos to all and not just the elite.
IF ELECTED WILL YOU WORK TOWARDS UPHOLDING AND PROMOTING THE ETHOS OF SOCIAL INCLUSION, EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS? YES
CHILDCARE
QUESTION THE COST OF CHILDCARE IN DONEGAL HAS RECENTLY BEEN PROVED TO ACT AS A BARRIER TO LOW INCOME WORKING FAMILIES TO EITHER REMAIN IN OR TAKE UP EMPLOYMENT. WITH AN AVERAGE COST FOR 2 CHILDREN IN FULL TIME DAY CARE EQUATING TO €16,500 PER YEAR AFTER TAX – WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS THIS SITUATION AT POLICY LEVEL IN DONEGAL? RESPONSEFirstly consult and work with the key agencies and groupings (people) that this affects.  I am not an expert in this area so I will seek guidance and information from these groups to inform my opinion.  More importantly it is their opinion that will matter when policy is developed.  I have always firmly believed that to draw up a policy the people it’s about, affects and deliver should be at the heart of the policy and not the “policy makers” alone.  We need multi agency approaches to look at the ramifications of policies within the parenting sphere so that we do not contradict across sectors.  Also to look a best practice in similar regions to see what we can adapt and adopt for this County.
CARERS
QUESTION  IN LIGHT OF THE MANY CUTS TO SERVICES I.E. HOME HELPS, SPECIAL NEEDS ASSISTANTS AND PERSONAL ASSISTANTS, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS THIS SITUATION AT A POLICY LEVEL IN DONEGAL? RESPONSEAs with Childcare we must consult with the key groups etc.  Also, we need a cumulative approach to cuts in that sectoral interests should not be the prevailing motive and help within the caring professions needs to be across the board.  Policy needs to be relevant to the needs on the ground and not be just another glossy paper to gather dust.  It must be proactive and with the economic constraints we need to be more creative and if anything more stringent in our attempts to get positive change.
DOMESTIC ABUSE + VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
QUESTIONS HAVE YOU OR WILL YOU SIGN UP TO THE MAN-UP CAMPAIGN?  RESPONSES YES
WILL YOU UNDERTAKE A HALF DAY WORKSHOP IN 2014 ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? YES
DONEGAL WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE HAS RECENTLY EXPANDED THE NUMBER OF ACCOMMODATION UNITS IT SUPPLIES YET THERE HAS BEEN NO FURTHER INCREASE IN FUNDING FROM DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL.  HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THIS? Work with Approved Housing Bodies and other agencies to source funding from Departments to resolve this matter.  Council and Councillors need to support these attempts.  Unfortunately they have not been as supportive as they could.  I know as I work for one of the leading housing charities in Ireland.
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT)
QUESTION IN THE UPCOMING REFERENDUM ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE, WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE A BALANCED DEBATE IN DONEGAL? RESPONSEThis is a Referendum Commission responsibility.  However ensure that any submission is clear and concise and also ask that the media give equal and adequate coverage to all parties concerned.  I would look for a supportive maybe facilitated debate in the regions of Donegal purely from an information and knowledge perspective so that the voters have a good sense of what is proposed.
TRAVELLERS
QUESTION  WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN? RESPONSESupport the DTP and SIM group to seek full implementation of same.
WOMEN’S POLITICAL  REPRESENTATION
QUESTIONS DO YOU SUPPORT THE 5050 CAMPAIGN TO SECURE EQUAL POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN IRELAND? RESPONSES NO
IF NO PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY. I do not agree with gender quotas as I have explained in my blog.See link. http://alanmcmenamin.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/gender-quotas-no-best-person/In short I support the best person and not support someone because of their gender.
WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE WITHIN YOUR PARTY OR AS AN INDEPENDENT TO ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT AT LEAST 30% FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION? My personal opinion is that we should create the conditions that allows for equal participation for all genders, be that child care, working conditions etc.  I am not for creating percentages for this as artificial targets and tokenism needs to stop if we are to get serious about equality of participation.
EQUALITY IN DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL 
QUESTIONS DO YOU AGREE THAT DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL SHOULD BE MORE FAMILY FRIENDLY FOR ITS ELECTED COUNCILLORS? RESPONSES YES
WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THIS CHANGE? AS ABOVE
DO YOU AGREE GENDER EQUALITY IS A FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE UNDERPINNING THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS IN IRELAND? YES
Part of the “BE INFORMED… about your 2014 Local Election Candidates” by NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network www.donegalwomensnetwork.com  
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