Why I got involved in politics
I believe in the potential of politics to change society for the better. Covid-19 has underlined the vital role of public service and the essential contribution of front-line workers, who have often been undervalued and undermined for political reasons. Voluntary activism at local and community level also deserve greater support and recognition from national government and local authorities. I want to see a strong society underpinned by social justice, fairness, community solidarity and diversity.
As we cautiously begin coming through the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to build on the common purpose and sense of community which have got us through the last year.
We should not simply go back to the way things were before, but instead create a more equal and compassionate society based on inclusive public services and the kind of community spirit which we saw during the pandemic. We have to achieve lasting change on affordable housing, school places, climate action and community amenities.
We have a housing emergency due to the lack of affordable housing. Local government has a crucial part to play in solving the housing crisis and this is closely related with effective, community-led planning. The solution to the housing crisis is not irresponsible development or undemocratic and unaffordable strategic housing development. Providing access to high quality, affordable homes is vital to the future of our communities. We need a significant increase in the supply of affordable housing with an appropriate mix of homes for single people, families with children and older residents who would like to trade down.
Many areas of Dublin West face a major shortfall in school places. Census data and primary school enrolment figures show peak demand for second level places up to 2024 at least. We need a comprehensive programme of new school building and refurbishment of existing schools across west Dublin and the Navan Road to guarantee that every child has a place in a local second-level school. Children and teachers should be not left indefinitely in temporary accommodation.
Not nearly enough places are available in local schools for children with additional needs and lack of resources cannot be an excuse for denying appropriate places to vulnerable children. Government policy here is fundamentally flawed and operates on the premise that inclusion is being achieved when neither the structures nor resources are in place to ensure this in practice - a fair society would provide in a genuinely inclusive way for children with varying levels of educational needs and allow for more specialised schools and facilities where appropriate.
As a regular train user, I am lobbying for the long-delayed electrification of the Maynooth line from the city centre to Maynooth to go ahead as quickly as possible. Green public transport is essential, but must be achieved while protecting the local environment, minimising local traffic congestion and preserving quality of life of residents. Current Irish Rail proposals fail to achieve this especially at Ashtown and Coolmine and should be changed to allow DART+West to proceed without damaging local community amenities or undermining quality of life.
Community Centres are at the heart of our community, providing vital services and amenities to residents of all ages and from all walks of life. I am lobbying for greater support for Community Centres in the annual Council budget to upgrade older community centres which are often struggling to survive and am seeking agreement from Fingal Council to remove a cap of €20,000 on grants for non-Fingal Community Centres.
I am a lecturer and researcher in Education in TCD, working with primary and secondary teachers. Among other projects, I am the author of a successful biography of Dr Patrick Hillery, former President of Ireland.
Born and raised in Glenville, I currently live in Castleknock. I was educated in St. Francis Xavier’s National School and Belvedere College. I am a graduate of Irish history and education from Trinity College Dublin and hold a doctorate in education policy.
I am passionate about education and its power to transform people’s lives. As chairperson of the board of Castleknock Community College and Scoil Choilm Community National School, I have worked to ensure that every child in our area has a place in a post-primary school. I have a strong track record as a local representative and volunteer, helping to re-establish Castleknock Tidy Towns and coordinating successful funding applications for our local community centre in Laurel Lodge.
I am working to achieve practical solutions to urgent problems such as the housing crisis, shortfalls in school places, inadequate investment in trains and bus services and climate action. I will be a strong voice for local communities and will work constructively to achieve change.
Clubs and Committees
- Chairperson, Board of Management, Castleknock Community College4
- Chairperson, Board of Management, Scoil Choilm, Porterstown
- Member of Board of Management of Eriu CC
- Director on Board of Laurel Lodge Community Centre
- Member of Castleknock and Blanchardstown Tidy Towns
- Member of Safer Blanchardstown and the Joint Policing Committee