Bernie Mulhern

Donegal, Independent

Bernie MulhernThe 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 BERNIE MULHERN
QUESTIONS:  

AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?

 

RESPONSES:  

I have many years’ experience as Chairperson of Donegal Community Chamber which promotes the social and economic life of Donegal Town. I am a member of AVS Board of Management, a member of Donegal ETB and the board of governors of LYIT. I have gained valuable experience from these roles. I have a capacity for hard work, am a good communicator and always strive to find a solution to a problem.

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?

RESPONSE:  

While the free pre-school year is welcome there is a need for subsidised childcare for low income families. This can be addressed by working with DCCC to devise a policy whereby low income families are identified and provided with affordable childcare. Flexible working hours for parents of young children could also be part of such a policy.

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?

RESPONSE:  

These cuts have been implemented nationally and are the remit of the Dept. of Education and the HSE. As a Councillor I would highlight and lobby for carers to be reinstated.

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? This needs to be addressed by getting agreement from all Councillors to increase funding. It is a well-known fact that since the economic downturn domestic violence has increased hence there is an urgent need to address this issue.
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?

RESPONSE:  

Public opinion polls have shown growing support for same sex marriage. This is basically an equality issue and as a public representative I would ensure that there is a fair and responsible campaign. It is our duty to protect younger in particular from homophobia.

TRAVELLERS
QUESTION:  

WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN?

RESPONSE:  

Given that there is a projected increase of 30-40 units required over the next five years for traveller accommodation and that there is a need for two serviced sites for nomadic families it will be imperative that all councillors work together to achieve these goals.

WOMEN’S POLITICAL  REPRESENTATION
QUESTIONS:  

DO YOU SUPPORT THE 5050 CAMPAIGN TO SECURE EQUAL POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN IRELAND?

RESPONSES:   

YES

IF NO PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY. NA
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? I always have and will continue to encourage women to be politically active. The 50/50 group is an ideal place for women to become engaged with politics. Women need to support other women otherwise we will never move forward and achieve gender equality in politics.
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? I would propose more use of video conferencing for meetings which would do away with the need to travel and allow members more flexibility for family arrangements.
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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