Claudia Kennedy

Stranorlar, Fianna Fáil

Claudia KennedyThe 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 CLAUDIA KENNEDY
QUESTIONS:  AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?  RESPONSES:  I am a Secondary School Teacher of English, Religion and SPHE in Finn Valley College, Stranorlar. My key skills include good communication skills, empathy, understanding and knowledge on a varied range of issues within society. I am also a TUI Representative and a former Co. Donegal TUI Branch Secretary, this has been invaluable experience in learning about union structures, debating at national congress and negotiating on issues, reaching agreement on issues for our members.  Therefore, I am aware and up to date on issues which are effecting our young people and families in the Stranorlar EA. 

Furthermore, I am involved in a number of community groups including Finn Valley Together which is working to up skill and support the local community and our schools on promoting positive mental health. I am also an elected member to the Committee of 20 of the NationalExecutive of FF, in which I have monthly meeting in the Dail with the  Parliamentary Party, this allowed me to deliver for constituents of the Stranorlar EA on issues which they have asked me to help with.

Through presenting speeches, subcommittee work, researching key issues and policy development at a National Level on the National Executive I have learned how to co-operate, work and achieve common goals with others which is essential in a political environment and the Co. Council.  I have a great knowledge and experience of farming issues as I was reared on a small farm in SW Donegal.

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: Having recently attended the Donegal County Childcare Committee Conference, chaired by Avril Mc Monagle for Local Election Candidates. I am very much aware of the cost of child care in the Stranorlar EA as it is an issue many women of my age, my friends and work colleagues who have brought this to my attention. I would bring the following solutions to the table. These solutions include: a tax incentive to assist low-income parents in employment in funding the cost of childcare; and a direct payment to families related to the cost of childcare through the Family Income Supplement Scheme (FIS)”. 

An excellent research paper was completed by the Donegal County Child Care Committee on this issue and I believe by putting the recommendations of this research in place would alleviate the cost of childcare in Co. Donegal. The Research Paper/ Report by Indecon International Economic Consultancy Group researches the cost of childcare in Ireland and the effects on parents returning to work. The Report The Donegal County Childcare Committee  recently commissioned an independent nationwide was presented to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Childcare, and I would suggest  take the finding’s from this report as a good starting point

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: Last Year 2013 I took Part in a Protest March outside the Dail in protest against the loss of SNAS in our education system. I am angry at the cuts made to these essential services for those in society who are the weakest without a voice and many with disabilities.I will be a vocal strong voice calling for a motion to be passed from all Donegal Co Cllrs calling on the Government to increase carers hours. I will call for research to be carried out to show how the devastating effects of these cuts to people’s lives and family lives.I will aim to show how these cuts have actually cost the state money as extra services are ironically required now as many of these people now require extra medical help without their carers.
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? Women Rights to Safety and Shelter are core Human Rights which must be upheld. Domestic Violence is a real, serious issue in which many women’s lives are in danger. We have a duty and a mandate as a public representatives to protect the most vulnerable and weakest in society.We need to increase funding in Donegal County Council for Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service. We need to raise awareness on the issue and provide funding for Community Education Programmes.
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: I believe in Free Speech and Democracy as core Human Rights. There must always be a dignified, respectful balanced debate on all issues in Irish Society.  I would encourage an informed, respectful, balanced and equal debate in which both sides of the argument would be listened to and respected in a Democratic manner. There must be respect for differences of opinion, we have seen the success of LGBT Awareness Week and Stand Up Week in Co Donegal. We need an inclusive debate with dignity and respect for everyone’s opinion while respecting differences of opinion.
TRAVELLERS
QUESTION:   WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN? RESPONSE:  I would support the full implementation of Donegal Co Council Traveller Accommodation in 2014-2018 Plan. There is a need to Identify, research, analyse and develop responses to the needs and aspirations of Travellers as a marginalised minority group.We need to Develop and consolidate innovative projects and pilot programmes which contribute to the enhancement of Travellers’ living circumstances and social inclusion. We must Design and deliver in service training and capacity building for community based groups, voluntary organisations for Travellers.
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? Already as a Member of the 50: 50 Campaign, Women into Public Life and the Donegal Women’s Network I fully support women participating in Irish Political Life. During the Summer of 2013 I completed a Summer Course Women in to Public Life, in Sligo. Furthermore, on the FF National Executive I have worked closely with our two female Senators Mary White and Aevril Power to develop a policy document on Promoting Women in FF.This programme is being implemented with a view to 2016. 

Within FF I have been vocal on the need for women at every level to become involved on the National Executive, Cumann Level, CC and Local County Council Level. I have also contributed within the Media to raise awareness on the need for women to participate in Local Politics. I believe we need mentors and a networking system put in place to support women in Public Life following the model of Women for Election.We need to continue supporting Women in To Public Life Education Programme within our local communities and Co. Donegal.

There needs to be funding made available to the Donegal Women Network who facilitates wonderful education projects and programmes on political programmes. Within FF I aim to lead by example and be a positive role model to women to say through action we can do this, we our voices heard lets work together to achieve it. At both local and National level I will be encouraging women to participate 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 believe the entire system of politics needs to be more family friendly in relation to the times in which the Co Council Schedules Meetings.For many women, childcare, a support system and a family support team is necessary in order to have a career in politics.
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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