As a Trade Union Official who represents workers in both the public and private sector I experience first-hand the pressure that Austerity and Privatisation has placed on all workers and the impact that these stresses have on their daily lives.
Being a full-time working mother with 3 children, I understand the endless burden on families to meet the financial demands and strains that face all of us every day. The unfair struggle for housing and waiting lists for services are preventing families from growing in a secure and stable environment.
As someone who was born and raised in Kilkenny I take great pride in the opportunity to represent and be a strong voice for local people and listen to their views and contributions about how we can continue to develop our community.
Decent and Affordable Housing
Local Council are at the front line of providing a response for people who are homeless and if elected I will strive to provide the resources needed to end homelessness in Kilkenny.
Lack of access to decent, affordable housing is a slow-moving crisis that leaves people unable to move ahead with their lives. Many people can no longer afford private housing costs. House prices and private rents have increased at a much faster rate than people’s take home pay. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people find their housing costs to be expensive, if not impossible to pay. Many young people are living in the family home or renting, who in previous generations would have bought their own homes. Labour has developed a new model of public that is open to all, based on what people can pay.
Labour’s solution is the same as what Labour parties have delivered throughout European cities for decades: good quality housing, built by local authorities, and rented out at a fair, affordable rent to people from a wide range of backgrounds. More than two-thirds of people living in Vienna rent publicly-provided housing, and this is a normal housing option right across Europe. The great State-led house-building programmes of the 1940s, 1950s 288 and 1970s owe a lot to the role of Labour, and this can be done again to deliver affordable public housing in our towns and cities.
Local Sustainable Jobs
As a Labour Councillor I commit to enhancing the economic role of Kilkenny County Council, working in partnership with local businesses, to provide decent and sustainable local jobs. I will insist on good employment practices and environmental protection by the Local Authority and local businesses.
Local government helps local job creation by providing the necessary building blocks for business and enterprise: good roads, permits and authorisation, planning, control of waste and recycling, and implementing local economic plans. Good quality jobs are the best way to reduce poverty and to improve workers’ wages.
Local government often buys goods and services from the private sector, including major construction contracts. I will push for the full use of EU rules that permit social and environmental clauses to be put into contacts, for local employment, for apprenticeships, for environmental protection and for other community gain.
Labour wants to bring about the next phase of Ireland’s economic development. That means fostering stronger indigenous Irish enterprise and better linkages with multinationals and with enterprises across the EU. It means moving away from fossil fuels and ensuring the goods and services of the future are sustainable and sustain good quality jobs. Brexit has made it clear that Ireland’s exporters need to move beyond reliance on the UK market alone.
Living Wage Rate of Pay
It is imperative that we explore ways in which our local authority can reintroduce direct employment to deliver essential services and demand that all local authority procurement includes a requirement for suppliers and contractors to be Living Wage employers. We need to seek stronger social clauses in all local authority contracts and procurement, with requirements for decent pay and conditions, and the right of all workers to trade union recognition and collective bargaining.
It is important that all local authority economic plans be focused on creating sustainable jobs for Kilkenny and consult regularly with trade unions and business representative associations.
As a local authority Kilkenny should encourage the development of local Fair Trade initiatives and Living Wage initiatives. We need to ensure that Kilkenny’s economy develops in terms of reducing economic inequality with stronger indigenous and sustainable industries.
The climate emergency is now. We need to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions from 60 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to net zero in just 30 years. I understand how local government can provide leadership, by promoting action on the environment and supporting communities and businesses to become sustainable.
Labour is committed to real change to Ireland’s economy so that we are less reliant on fossil fuels. We need for Climate Action Funds to be established at local level to fund practical actions to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Kilkenny local authority should use their buildings and land for an ambitious programme of generating electricity from wind and solar.
In our libraries and community centres, we can provide and maintain water fountains to help reduce the usage of single-use plastic bottles. There can be stronger environmental clauses in all local authority contracts and procurement.
Develop our local authority to have Local Carbon Budgets aligned to a national Carbon Budget and demand the publication of the CO2 equivalent emissions as part of the annual reports.
Insist that all city and county development plans fully integrate plans to improve infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce the dominance of cars.
Seek to improve recycling facilities, especially for plastic, and explore the option of local deposit schemes on certain containers.