So election week is finally upon us .
The hard work, the tears, the laughter and the hundreds of miles that it feels like myself and my team have walked, to every corner of the constituency, all ends up boiling down to one single day.
This Friday, the 26th of February will be the day that the Irish people go forth and cast their vote that will dictate the future direction and growth of this great country.
From my perspective, I have always been clear on what I have stood for, and what I plan on doing if I get elected by my peers from Dublin Rathdown.
I feel I have really got to know a lot of people in the constituency over the past couple of years, and it was really inspiring for me to see so many people attend my monthly public events over this time.
It really showed me how knowledgeable and passionate our constituents are across a whole range of subjects – from climate change, to education, to entrepreneurship – and the willingness to stand up and be counted for when it came to crime.
With that in mind, I have outlined 5 reasons why I feel like I could be of real value in representing the constituency in Dail Eireann.
1. I have personal experience of creating jobs and has spent 14 years in the Seanad promoting enterprise.
Having set up Lir Chocolates in 1986 with Connie Doody that now employs over 250 people, I have personal experience of what it takes to create sustainable jobs in the community.
I have spent fourteen in the Seanad, where I have consistently promoted enterprise, and co-authored a report on “The Key Issues for female entrepreneurs in Ireland and for their participation in the Tech Sector” in 2015.
Many politicians talk a good game when it comes to entrepreneurship – but I actually have the experience and results to back up what I believe is the best way for enterprise to prosper.
2. I played a significant role in forcing Fine Gael to change their stance on inheritance tax
With the full support of a packed meeting I organised in Mount Merrion Community Centre on August 25 2015, I have been actively driving the campaign to increase the inheritance tax threshold to €500,000.
Over 1,000 people, mainly from south Dublin, signed a petition to the Minister for Finance in favour of my proposals and I presented the petition at the Department of Finance on September 30 2015, as pictured below.
As an issue that disproportionally affects our constituency, I am delighted that Minister Noonan has now succumbed to the pressure and has committed to increasing the inheritance tax threshold to €500,000.
If elected, I will continue to bring awareness to this issue to ensure that this promise is not empty rhetoric ant that’s promise is upheld.
3. I have convinced Fianna Fáil to include the reopening of Stepaside Garda station in their manifesto, and have called for tougher measures such as tagging of repeat burglars on bail which is gaining national traction.
Since the closure of Stepaside Garda station by this government in 2013, I have gone out with residents and protested their right to feel safe in their own homes – and 3 years on I am proud to say that last week I brought Michéal Martin to Stepaside, who has pledged to reopen the station should Fianna Fail be in government.
I have also vowed to fight our corner in relation to clamping down on burglars- who still terrorise communities even though they are on bail- and still terrorise communities by pushing for legislation to be enacted that would result in them being monitored and electronically tagged – which has gained significant support in the media.
4. I have consistently fought for the rights of older people, particularly in the areas of abolishing the over 65 retirement rate, free BreastCheck and on prescription charges.
I am a firm believer that we need to recognise the potential of our ageing population to contribute to and enrich our society in many diverse ways given their talents, experience, and wisdom.
This is why I am fighting for legislation that I was involved in to be enacted that will abolish the minimum retirement age.
I will do everything I can to speed up the free breast check for over 65s that this government has disgracefully neglected, as well as push for prescription charges to be reduced – something that disproportionally affects some of the most vulnerable in our constituency.
5. I have a clear vision as to how we can make childcare affordable and ensure that there is equality when it comes to maternity leave for young families in Dublin.
It is my firm belief that the Irish Childcare system is deeply flawed at present. I played a key role in helping Fianna Fáil in drawing up a proposed tax relief system for families and ensure that both mothers and fathers can work and have their children looked after at the same time.
I would again like to thank you all for your support, and the warm welcome that I have received on the doors.
I would be extremely proud to represent Dublin Rathdown in Dáil Éireann – let’s show the current government that there is another way, a way that includes a recovery for all and not just the most well off.
Go raibh maith agaibh,
Senator Mary White