Gary Doherty

Stranorlar, Sinn Féin

Gary Doherty

The National Women’s Collective – Donegal Women’s Network sent an ‘Open Invitation’ to all Donegal Councillors to respond to questions that have been identified as areas of concern of people in Donegal.

Each councillor was invited to respond and to pledge to undertake specific actions during their term within Donegal County Council.

Below are the questions with the councillor’s response.

 

 

YOUR CANDIDATE GARY DOHERTY
QUESTIONS:  AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?  RESPONSES:  I have been a full-time public representative since November 2013.  In that time I have been fully inducted into the workings of Donegal County Council and have gained an understanding of the needs and wants of my constituents.  I will continue to work for the most vulnerable members of society if elected, as these are the people who need the assistance of a public representative most.  I have studied politics at University and I have been a Sinn Féin activist my entire adult life.  I will continue this activism at a public level.
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 been one of only four Councillors to have attended DCCC’s recent pre-election event on childcare costs I am fully aware of the issues in this sector.  I will support and lobby for any initiatives which would help parents return to work and which would benefit those low income families and the wider economy in Donegal as a direct result.  I will lobby to open the Childcare Subvention Scheme to all privately run childcare facilities in the 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? RESPONSE: Sinn Féin has consistently resisted all cuts to services which would directly impact on the most vulnerable members of society and we will continue to do so.  We have advocated reducing politician’s pay and redirecting the savings towards reinstating some of the services such as home help hours which have been cut.  It is a national disgrace that we have propped up banks and paid gambling bond-holders while cutting these vital services and denying the rights of Irish citizens to due care.
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? I voted against the Council’s budget for 2014 because it was explicitly reducing the services provided by Donegal County Council and made no provision for added investment in areas where it was badly needed.  I will be only too glad to advocate for increased funding for the Domestic Violence Service whether that be through direct funding under the budget for 2015 or through funding schemes such as the Development Fund Initiative.
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 am not sure I will contribute to a balanced debate as I am completely in favour of LGBT rights including same sex marriage.  It is imperative that we as a nation recognise the rights and entitlements of each citizen equally and this includes the right to marry.  What right does one person have to tell another that they cannot marry the person they love?  I am proud that Sinn Féin has consistently championed LGBT rights, most recently when my colleagues proposed a same sex marriage bill in Stormont which was sadly defeated.
TRAVELLERS
QUESTION:  WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN? RESPONSE:  I have and always will be supportive of the rights and entitlements of Travellers.  In my view Donegal County Council has done some very good work with the Traveller community and this work needs to continue.  If elected I will ask questions, lobby and put pressure on the relevant people at Council level to ensure that a; recommendations in the new Traveller Accommodation plan are adhered to.
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? Sinn Féin has always been pro-active in ensuring a gender balance in politics, both at a local and national level.  Nationally we have almost 40% female candidates which is the highest percentage of any of the larger parties.  At a local level we have actively encouraged female participation within the party and have seen an increase in membership from women.   This will hopefully transfer to public representation in the coming years.
EQUALITY IN DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL 
QUESTIONS:  DO YOU AGREE THAT DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL SHOULD BE MORE FAMILY FRIENDLY FOR ITS ELECTED COUNCILLORS? RESPONSES:  NO
WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THIS CHANGE? I’m a father of three children myself all under the age of twelve so I am aware of the issues that elected members with families can face.  At a local level it is difficult to see what could be done.  There is only full \council meeting in Lifford once per month, the other meetings are in different venues.  That means that the provision of childcare facilities would not be feasible.  The working hours of an elected councillor cannot really be affected.  Meetings are held with council officials, members of the public at their convenience, public bodies etc. so no one body is responsible for this.
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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