Gearóid tops election crowdfunding

Tipperary Election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon has topped the poll of Irish election candidates using crowdfunding to pay for their campaign.

Who is topping the poll?
Who is topping the poll?

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  “

Tipperary can reflect on its choice of Leadership

Gearóid wants leadership on energy
Gearóid wants leadership on energy

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”

Further details of Tipperary Green campaign launch and policies are available on their facebook page www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens and campaign blog www.gfitzgibbon.wordpress.com  Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. Their crowdfunding campaign is available on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp  or by calling 0838109522.

Action Needed on Town Centres

Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel
Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel

The politics of facilitating developers means that the state serves those who shout the loudest or who are best connected, instead of what is best for the public. It also leads to bad decisions about where to site housing or services with consequences clear from the recent floods.
On Saturday January 23rd, Tipperary Greens engaged in a canvass at Clonmel Farmers’ Market with election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon. Businessman and founder of Longways Cider, James O’Donoghue said that the team found people were very receptive, raising issues which included support for small farmers and local food producers. After the canvass, local members took me on a tour of the town centre and Market Place Shopping Centre. This large retail development anchored around a Super Valu (formerly Superquinn) outlet, shut last week with the loss of over 40 jobs – another loss of jobs in the market place area, where previously many businesses employed in excess of 100 people.

High rates and parking charges, along with a lack of footfall are contributing to this town centre’s demise and the issues affecting Clonmel are similar to those in other parts of the county where the over-supply of edge of town shopping (which benefit from easy access and free parking), squeezes the lifeblood from the town centres.

Unless we want our town centres to become ghost towns, local authorities must rebalance the scales in favour of town centres and small locally owned businesses. This can be done by make rates fairer and reducing parking charges, which are in effect a penalty on centre of town business. Parking charges and high commercial rates helped address local authorities lack of income as a result of the scrapping of local rates as an election stunt in 1977. With property tax now funding local authorities, it is overdue time to review parking charges and the rates system.
“In the longer term” says Con Traas, local Green Chair, “Tipperary Greens are seeking to fundamentally change attitudes to development. The current model favours larger over smaller, and multinational over local business, and all the while too many politicians seem prepared to vote in favour of any development which might lead to a ribbon-cutting event that gets their pictures in the paper. Councils need to actively reverse this, as well as increasing the provision of quality housing in and close to our historic and beautiful town centres.”

The Greens are the only party in the country with a clear record on planning. We have consistently opposed the kind of bad planning which puts houses, shops and services in the wrong places and creates a car dependant culture. Good urban planning creates human scale towns, with housing near shops and services.
Stay up to date on our campaign on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens
Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. For this reason, we have a crowdfunding campaign to be able to participate in this election. Supporters can go to http://www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp to make a contribution or click on the badge on the top right of this screen.

TDs Pay and Expenses: 9 times the average Irish wage!

Calling it like it is will be a key part of our campaign.

Far too many of Irish politicians are focused on trying to convince people that they are actually doing something for them. Some are worse than others. Our PR STV system reflects very well the popular choice but leads to national elections which are fought over local issues instead of where the country should be going. The crash show us the consequences of this taking the eye off the ball.
While the financial crisis was going on, TDs and ministers were spending huge amounts of time and taxpayers money sending letters to people for issues that are not the business of national politicians.

We’ll be campaigning in Tipp to abolish constituency offices (vote getting machines for politicians), and investing in the Citizens Information Service instead. We should also cut TDs pay and the over generous pensions. If elected I will give 35 percent of my salary to the Tipperary Citizens Information Service.
Long term though, to get national elections fought on party policies, we’d need a partial list system like that advocated by David Farrell – The Irish Political System, Head of School of Politics and International Relations, UCD, at a 2012 event in Tipperary.

The last government was elected with huge mandate for political reform, but unfortunately did not deliver. The recommendations of the Constitutional Convention have been largely ignored, apart from the marriage referendum, and some late tweaking to Dáil procedures. The referendum to abolish the Seanad without any Plan B was not any kind of reform – and rightly rejected by the Irish people.

Codding people into thinking that you are doing them favours is not a proper political system. Read more on my proposals here.

Green Meet up Thurles, Sunday 2-3.30pm

creating a green voice in Tipperary

Tipperary Greens are holding a discussion/campaign organising meeting in Cabragh Wetlands environmental education centre near Thurles this Sunday 13th December 2-3.30pm.

The objective of the meeting is to have a discussion with the selected candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon on the campaign goals, so that it inspires those involved/potentially involved! Refreshments will be provided. For more information email tipperarygreen@gmail.com or call 085-7409023. You can follow our 2016 General Election Candidate on @Gearoid4Green All are Welcome.

Cabragh Wetlands is located on the Cabragh Road between Thurles & HolyCross – past the old sugar factory. More information on their website http://www.cabraghwetlands.ie