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 TOM CONAGHAN|
|QUESTIONS: AS A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FOR DONEGAL WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?||RESPONSES: I am a mature married man and father. I served Donegal Town and the surrounding areas as Mayor and during my term of office had the pleasure of working with many community groups including youth, elderly, sporting and social groups. I am an experienced voice in the community and have a proven track record of getting things done. I lead the anti-head shops appeal, restored the historical famine graveyard and bank walk in Donegal Town and hosted two very successful mayor suppers whereby all proceeds went to local charities.|
|IF ELECTED WILL YOU WORK TOWARDS UPHOLDING AND PROMOTING THE ETHOS OF SOCIAL INCLUSION, EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS?||YES|
|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: If elected I will endeavour to be a strong voice for families and single parent families struggling with the cost of childcare. No individual should feel unable to take up an employment opportunity in the current climate as a result of childcare cost and I will do my best to ensure every provision is made to meet the needs of those who find themselves in this situation. It is important that funding and or grants are prioritised to meet childcare needs.|
|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: Recently on my election trail the cuts to services such as home help and special need assistants has been highlighted at almost every door. It is the government’s duty to help the most vulnerable in society and given the opportunity I will be the people’s voice to highlight their concerns and lobby government representatives for increased funding for carers. It is of increased importance that the policy for carers in Donegal is given priority with all council representatives.|
|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?||Donegal women’s domestic violence service is an excellent facility and a vital lifeline to many women who find themselves in a volatile abusive situation. It is very sad that having increased the number of accommodation units no increase of funding has been made available. I will put it to the council that these new accommodation units cannot run on fresh air and considering the important role they play in the community it is vital, that they are given all necessary support.|
|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: As an independent candidate my opinions do not have to fall in line with any party beliefs therefore I am an independent, non-biased neutral voice. It is of grave importance that such an important debate should be balanced with no one particular opinion domineering another. A debate on same sex marriage should therefore be chaired by a balanced neutral individual or individuals who will have the experience and maturity to not let one side over power the other. I will support this debate in any way possible.|
|QUESTION: WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION 2014-2018 PLAN?||RESPONSE: As I am not a council representative at present I must be honest and say that I am not very familiar with their traveller accommodation plan. Having said that it is the council’s responsibility to implement the plan for the travelling community considering they have devised the accommodation plan to meet the traveller’s needs.|
|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?||The female voice is a very strong voice in our society. I have first-hand experience as a husband and father of two daughters. Women have a very important role in today’s politics and the dynamics of today’s society which is ever changing. On my current campaign for council I have over 35 percent female involvement both with campaign issues and canvassing. I believe that in today’s society gender is not and should not be an issue.|
|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 am at the stage of my life now that I am retired and my family are grown up and I have lots of time on my hands. However I was once a young man with responsibilities to my family and I know how important it is to spend quality family time together. To make this possible elected councillors need to all stand together and be of the one opinion when it comes to working hours and childcare provisions. I am sure that everybody could come to an agreement that will suit all needs.|
|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|