Q & A with Wicklow Green Party candidate Deirdre de Burca
|Name||Deirdre de Burca|
|Address||Apt 2,6 Eglinton Rd, Bray Co Wicklow|
|Date of birth||Classified Information (!)|
Full-time local politician
Don't have any stocks or shares. Only asset I have is a house I own
Income (aside from income derived from political office:
Less than €20,000
Approximate net worth of capital assets 0aside from family residence:
I own one house and have no other capital assets
Information on political career to date:
I was elected for the fist time in 1999 to Wicklow County Council. I ran in the 2002 General Election in Wicklow and received 3212 first preference votes but failed to be elected to Dail Eireann. I ran for Bray Town Council in 2004 and was elected from the North Ward, along with two other Green Party councillors. I was Chairperson of Bray Town Council from June 2005-2006. I have been selected as the Green Party's 2007 General Election Candidate for County Wicklow. I have been the only Green Party councillor on Wicklow County Council out of 24 councillors, since I was elected in 1999. I have taken high-profile stances on illegal dumping and bad planning in the county, amongst other issues. I have taken two legal actions against Wicklow County Council in that time, both of which were public interest cases which I have personally funded. In 2000 I was successful in having Wicklow County Council's decision to privatise the waste collection services in the county judicially reviewed, but was unsuccessful in having the council's decision overturned. In 2004, I applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision of the Wicklow County Manager and Chairperson into an Ethics Complaint I had made concerning Cllr Fachtna Whittle (FF) and a rezoning motion he proposed as part of the 2004 County Development Plan process. That case is still before the High Court.
Why should voters in your constituency vote for you rather than for other candidates, including candidates representing the political party which you represent?
In my opinion one of the greatest problems that affects our political system at the moment is the fact that the public are so cynical about the politicians they elect to represent them. There is a perception, informed by the findings of various tribunals, that politicians are largely a self-serving bunch who are only interested in lining their own pockets and the pockets of their cronies and corporate sponsors. The wider public interest does not appear to inform the practices or policies of many politicians, but rather the narrow interests of particular influential sectors of society. I believe that the Green Party, as a relatively young political party that is as yet untainted by corruption and sleaze, offers a welcome alternative to the main political parties in this country. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, which grew out of civil war politics, have lost their “raison d'etre” and appear to be largely interested in power for its own sake.
The Green Party, in contrast, is an idealistic party that has emerged in response to many of the pressing political issues of the 21st century. These include the challenges of climate change, unsustainable resource consumption, the need to protect our natural environment and the imperative to promote social justice and equality at a national and international level. There is also a very acute need to rescue democracy from its slow decline and to address chronic voter apathy by developing new and innovative systems of governance and encouraging much greater levels of public participation in political decision-making at every level. The Green Party has a sense of urgency about addressing this ambitious programme of political change. I am one of the Green Party's General Election candidates. I am under no illusion about my ability to achieve the changes set out above as a single individual. I need to be part of a rapidly growing political movement that succeeds in accessing the levers of political power and exercising that power effectively so that the necessary changes are brought about. So in attempting to encourage the electorate in Wicklow to vote for me, I feel it is necessary to move beyond highlighting my own personal achievements and attributes and to emphasise the importance of the political movement to which I belong.
However, I do not see any of the other political parties or candidates in County Wicklow attempting to tackle these pressing issues. At a personal level I am a hard-working and energetic candidate who is committed to providing the best possible political representation for the people of Wicklow. Over the past seven years since I was first elected to Wicklow County Council, I have developed my expertise in the area of planning and have used my political influence to ensure that towns and villages across the county are getting the physical and social infrastructure they need, and that the needs of communities are being met in the planning decisions that the council makes. I have fought for better waste services for the county and was successful in getting a recycling centre for Bray. I have put very strong pressure on Wicklow County Council to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping in the county and have succeeded in ensuring that the council's response to illegal dumps was informed by the highest environmental standards. I have reported rogue waste operators to the council and had their waste permits revoked. I have campaigned for much improved public transport services for County Wicklow whose population is rapidly increasing. Along with my Green Party colleagues in the Dail, I have run a successful public campaign to have the Luas Light Rail system extended to Bray Town centre, to integrate with the Dart and the Rosslare Rail Line. I have had energy efficiency standards that are 60% higher than the standards required by the current Building Regulations agreed for new homes in certain parts of County Wicklow. This is a very important issue particularly for low income families who will experience fuel poverty in the future as energy process rise, unless the homes they occupy are extremely energy efficient. I have recently been appointed Chairperson of the Joint Policing Committee for Bray Town Council and I intend to be part of the process of developing community-wide solutions to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.
In summary, I am a hard-working committed politician who is not afraid to speak out on issues of public importance and if necessary to challenge vested interests that resist changes that are in the wider public interest. I am optimistic about the possibilities for politics to change society for the better. For this to happen however, I believe we need very able, honest and committed politicians to implement the necessary changes, in partnership with the public they represent. If the Wicklow electorate votes me into the Dail in the next General Election, I hope to be one of those politicians.
What do you consider to be the main election issues in your constituency?
Reform of Local Government
Proper planning that meets the needs of communities
Protection of the Environment
Providing essential physical infrastructure for the county including water, sewerage and roads
Need to promote Renewable Energy Sector
Better public health services
Investment in Public Transport
More community childcare facilities
Effective response to crime and anti-social behaviour
Better Youth services and facilities
Were do you stand in relation to these constituency issues?
My track record already illustrates the extent to which I prioritise these issues. As many of the issues have to do with better and improved funding/investment in County Wicklow it is my hope that the Green Party will participate in Government after the Election. In that case I would be in a very strong position to try to make real improvements in many of these areas.
How much money do you expect to spend in the election campaign?
What will be the sources of this finance?
Personal and Family donations; Fundraising by local Wicklow Green Party Constituency Group (No Corporate Donations accepted as per Green Party rules).