Gerry McMonagle

Letterkenny, Sinn Féin

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  GERRY MCMONAGLE
QUESTIONS:  AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?  RESPONSES: I have long experience of working with and supporting local communities and brought many of their concerns to Letterkenny Town Council and Government Ministers attention. Daily contact with those most vulnerable in our community has learned me an awful lot and gave me great determination to make sure their voices are heard at the highest level of Government. I have been involved in many campaigns and would be a good communicator and advocate for those who would need my support the most.
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: “We in Sinn Féin believe that childcare is a right. Policy must be geared to the needs of children and families rather than solely to the needs of the labour market. This state still has one of the lowest rates of childcare provision in the EU. Many families on lower incomes either cannot get childcare at all.”The lack of quality, affordable childcare prevents many women who wish to do so from working outside the home. This was confirmed recently in the Donegal Childcare Committee Report Supporting Working Families: Releasing a Brake on Economic Growth.”I would encourage the Minister to reference the experience in the North of Ireland. The Executive there recently published their Strategy for Affordable and Integrated Childcare entitled Bright Start. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel it’s about having the political will to see improvements implemented and realised.”
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: “I would call on the Government to do the honourable thing and reverse the heartless cuts to Carers and to reinstate the full respite grant, it is the very least that they could do for the carers of this state.”“I firmly believe the recent budget brought in by Fine Gael and Labour has been anti-family, anti-children and anti-women and promise if elected to continue to raise this inequality. The cuts to respite care draws the spot light on just how anti-woman this budget has been. The statistics speak for themselves, 64% of carers are women. Therefore the cuts to respite disproportionately hit women.
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? First of all I will meet with your group and discuss your needs and listen to your proposals. I will then take them to DCC with a view to getting the funding and support your service requires to deliver a first rate service for your clients.
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: Sinn Fein is probably one of the most supportive Parties for Same Sex Marriage. My Party has campaigned with others to make same sex marriages becomes a reality. We have also been to the forefront in support for the LGBT Community and the issues they have raised with us. I personally will continue to support my Parties stance on all of these issues.
TRAVELLERS
QUESTION:  WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN? RESPONSE: My colleague Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD has just published an Oireachtas Report on Travellers ethnicity and I fully support that report. I have worked on Travellers issues throughout my time as a Letterkenny Councillor and will continue to do so. If elected I will ask for the full implementation of the 2014-2018 Accommodation Plan and insist on it being milestoned with regular reviews to ensure that it is indeed being implemented and not gathering dust on some shelf.
WOMEN’S POLITICAL  REPRESENTATION
QUESTIONS:  DO YOU SUPPORT THE 5050 CAMPAIGN TO SECURE EQUAL POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN IRELAND? RESPONSES: Undecided
IF NO PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY. Personally I am not sure on 50-50 because that would suggest that people may just be selected by their Party on Gender basis rather on ability. 50-50 can work against women just as much as it could help them. I think the important thing is that we do all in our power to make it more appealing for all genders to involve themselves in politics. I am of course open to the argument for 50-50.
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? It’s important that we increase the number of women to elected office. Sinn have been campaigning on this issue for years and will continue to do so. At a local level I have been involved in canvassing for more Sinn Fein women members to come forward as candidates.
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 certainly, if elected would support more family friendly meetings especially around the timing of these meetings. I believe it is the duty of the Council to provide a crèche for its members children if that what it takes to enable them to play a full role in council business. It’s important that all sections of our community feel they can fulfil a role in political life. Equality should always be our benchmark.
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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