On behalf of Tipperary Greens and myself, I want to thank the 1341 citizens of Tipperary who chose to put a No.1 on the ballot paper beside myself and the Greens, and the 10000 plus voters who gave a No.2 or high preference.
You have doubled our vote as a percentage of votes cast from 0.8% to 1.7%
It was a good showing with a short run in and a small but dedicated team. We got to talk about the potential of localising energy to transform our local economy. We also got to challenge the other candidates on how politics is done in Ireland.
I want to thank everyone who helped out or assisted in any way. The enthusiasm and belief of our campaign team inspiring. 75 people donated €3700 in just over a month – these were friends, family, colleagues and others who I did not know before. Their support allowed us to get into the arena and compete.
We ran a strong and principled campaign. I would like to see us go on from here and build a network of rural green supporters and activists.
I ask anyone who gave a vote or a preference to consider getting involved. Let’s ensure that the unique green perspective is given to community issues in Tipperary – whether on planning, the economy, the environment or issues of social justice.
Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org text 083-8109522 or facebook.com/TipperaryGreens
Nationally with 2 Green TD’s now in the Dáil (Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin) and at 2.72% of the national vote, the Greens return to being a nationally funded party.
It has been a great honour to take part in the general election campaign in Tipperary
I stood in the election to raise the issues of changing our energy system and moving away from the favours based politics that we have become known for. Having worked with communities for the last 10 years, I understand the difference these changes can make to the county.
With a local subscriber-financed campaign, and the support of a dedicated team, we have tried to make a difference in this campaign.
Whatever your colour, I ask you to give me your number 1 vote tomorrow and send a message to the country that Tipperary is ready to lead again. With our transferrable vote system, if your no. 1 doesn’t make the cut, your no.2 is still as good as a no. 1.
I thank you for your support.
If you have time, do share the following text with friends & colleagues: “Gearóid Fitzgibbon is running in the election on the themes of localising our energy system and better politics. Do consider giving him a 1 on Friday to put this on the agenda for the county and country. More info here gfitzgibbon.wordpress.com ”
One of the key messages of Gearóid Fitzgibbon’s campaign is to put an end to our habit of selecting our politicians on the basis of personal often imaginary favours done for the public. Gearóid is proposing to close down the local constituency offices – work done here would be better carried out in the Citizen Information Service.
After the recent Tipperary MidWest Radio election debate (Tuesday February 16th), Gearóid spoke with Tom Fitzgerald, volunteer chairperson of the Canon Hayes Resource Centre in Tipperary Town, and a legend of community development. While not publicly backing any party, Tom told Gearóid that for years he has endorsed the closing of the constituency offices. “Muintir na Tíre were the original group to propose the set-up of the Citizen Information Service. This is where people should get information, free of any favours or political string-pulling.”
Tom Fitzgerald has been doing community development work before it was even called that. In the 1950’s he began working with Canon Hayes, founder of Muintir na Tíre. “Fr. Hayes referred to community development as ‘practical Christianity’. He began his work in 1923, after the civil war; he kept peace and good relations between people in communities. The two firmly believed that change comes from the bottom up. They opened town halls and community offices in communities which brought them to life.
“He was a bit of a revolutionary to the rest of the Church, they should have given him freedom…and time”, recalled Tom Fitzgerald during his chat with Gearóid.
In 1957, Canon Hayes died, and Tom Fitzgerald continues his work to this day. Tom Fitzgerald also looks up to Pope Francis and his work; he sees that he is doing the same kind of ‘practical Christianity’ that Canon Hayes used to talk about and do.
‘Community development’, ‘practical Christianity’ or whatever name you call it is all about the people, what they have a right to and taking action at a local level so the people can achieve this right.
Gearóid Fitzgibbon is passionate about people’s right to free information without the middleman. To show his commitment to this, he will donate 35% of the €87,258 T.D.’s salary to the Citizen’s Information Centre if elected. According to Gearóid, “People have a right to the information they need. To make it a right and not a privilege, we need to replace these constituency offices with improved Citizen’s Information and Advocacy Centres – and put an end to these taxfunded vote-getting machines.”
“One simple solution can immediately put money circulating into rural economies: Stop the waste of energy.” This was the key message of our campaign launch on Thursday evening of Tipperary Green Party.
Speaking at my campaign lauch on the theme of “Creating Rural Jobs and Investment”, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan spoke about his own roots in the Glen of Aherlow, and how he felt green economics can have a real impact on rural communities: “I commend Gearóid for stepping forward. The impact of community development work is limited unless our country gets strong political direction. He is as good a candidate as they get – he is doing in his real life what we are all talking about.”
A number of other of guests spoke, including Con Harrington. According to Con, “You get enthused by being involved. Gearóid has brought huge enthusiasm into our community – if the rest of Tipperary know what he has done, I’m sure they would back him. The more support he gets, the more attention will be paid to his message”
I also spoke on how locally owned energy can be turned into local invesment, “The exclusive focus on Foreign Direct Investment is ignoring the massive opportunity in cutting our country’s yearly €5.7billion spend on imported energy. In Tipperary that’s €300 million per year leaving the county. Our own local authority could easily tap into European Investment Bank funding to do this across the county, to be paid back over 15-20 years. We need our government to mandate our local authorities to do this. Tipperary should be leading here. For every 1 million spent on retrofit, 25 jobs are created.”
In wrapping up we thanked everyone who had attended and helped out – and the event sponsors – The Apple Farm, Longways Cider, and the Green Sheep.
My final comment was “My motivation for standing in the election is to highlight the need to use energy as a driver of rural communities. We need to develop community energy initiatives. We should have a network of 200 or 300 energy co-operatives in Ireland, like what has developed in Germany. When Horace Plunkett went out with one or two staff in the1890s, within five or six years you had 400 or 500 agricultural co-operatives set up with almost 200,000 members. Our agriculture sector is missing this opportunity. Our own state or ICOS are not backing it. For most of Tipperary’s towns and villages, there is no recovery to keep going, and Richard Bruton will never come and cut a ribbon announcing the latest arm of Google or Linked In. We need local solutions.”
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan, will officially launch the Tipperary Green
Party candidate, Gearóid Fitzgibbon’s election campaign on Thursday 11th February in the Excel Theatre, Tipperary Town at 7.30pm. Join the facebook event by clicking here !
Gearóid is asking that people to come along for an engaging evening on how green policies can improve the rural economy and society.
Earlier in the day there is a coffee morning at 10.30am at Country Choice in Nenagh, where there will be an opportunity to meet Gearóid and discuss the policies he is putting forward. More info available on the facebook page www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens
Wednesday saw Gearóid on Tipp Mid West talking about tackling political cronyism and talking to students in LIT Thurles.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will launch the campaign on the theme of “Creating Rural Jobs and Investment”
Fitzgibbon says that “The Irish public has become cynical about politics. The trend towards electing independents is part of this. Through the taxpayers funded constituency office, independent TDs build a pool of support based on personal favours, but have nothing to contribute for a long term vision for our country. I am asking the voters to look at our ideas on how to produce jobs and investment for the county. My ideas on cutting Tipperary’s 300 million bill on imported energy will produce quality new jobs and local investment.”
Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. Their crowdfunding campaign is available on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp or by calling 0838109522.
Tipperary Election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon has topped the poll of Irish election candidates using crowdfunding to pay for their campaign.
An Irish Times article published on Monday February 8th, listed the Irish election candidates who had used the internet to raise election funds.
According to Fitzgibbon, he was surprised that, at the date the list was compiled (Feb 3rd), he was the second highest funded campaign at €2230. Paul Murphy of the AAA was highest with €2438, with the former Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power at €2200.
“I have been very lucky to gain the contributions of friends, family and green supporters. 45 people have donated an average of €50 each over the last month. Unlike Murphy and Power, I don’t currently earn a TD/Senator’s wage & expenses of €200k/year. Also unlike Murphy, my campaign is not funded by the taxpayer – as the greens are currently not represented in the Dáil. I have set a modest budget of €3600 to run the campaign – a target which I am still hoping to reach. This is still just 10% of the maximum allowable budget for a General Election Campaign. Anyone wishing to contribute can just go on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp “
Ahead of our 2016 election campaign launch on February 11th, I am asking voters in Tipperary to reflect on the type of leadership that they want in the new and unified county.
The re-unification of the county offers an exciting opportunity for Tipperary to make a fresh start. Tipperary should take up once again the position of leadership in Irish political and cultural life – to match its performance on the sports field.
Irish voters tend to select their representatives to their national parliament on the basis of personal favours. The neglects any considerations of where the country is going, and is what has made our politics such a failure over the last 15 years.
Regretably, Tipperary has come to embody this trend over the last few years, against the county’s own better tradition of leadership in Ireland. You only have to think of Tipperary’s central role in the national movement – when Ernie O’Malley, Sean Treacy and Dinny Lacy were on the run during the War of Independence, it was the homes of Tipperary that kept them going – the people in those safe houses, were the backbone of the Irish independence movement. At great personal risk, they put themselves on the line for the long term future of their country.
Tipperary has also been central to other organisations for example the GAA, the pioneering community self-help group Muintir na Tíre, among others.
I am asking Tipperary to take up its attitude of leadership again, to look at where they want the state to go rather than what they can extract from the state.
I am delighted that Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan will formally launch our campaign at the Excel Centre in Tipperary at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th February. All are welcome. Eamon’s own own forebears hail from the Glen of Aherlow.
“I am delighted that Tipperary is putting forward such a strong local candidate. There is a space for a strong rural Green voice which can positively influence issues of planning and the rural economy. I think the electorate will be interested in Gearoid’s views on local energy and other matters”