Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Dublin Mid-West By-election: Issue of Writ

 

1:20 pm

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)

These four by-elections represent an opportunity for people to strike a blow against the policies of Fine Gael, which leads the Government, and Fianna Fáil, which props it up. In Cork North-Central, Solidarity will stand Councillor Fiona Ryan. Do not estimate the righteous anger of those who see more than 600 people on hospital trolleys today, at a time when there are more than 10,000 nursing vacancies thanks to the Government's HSE recruitment freeze. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have created a society in which 4,000 children have been made homeless, yet 3,000 others became millionaires last year. The Government defends a capitalist market in which 100 corporations are responsible for more than 70% of carbon emissions. It turns its back on a just transition and instead loads carbon taxes on the backs of working people.

Councillor Fiona Ryan is the only elected female representative on Cork's north side. She is the youngest elected representative contesting this by-election but, most important, she is the only elected representative contesting it who is a socialist. Like the People Before Profit candidate in Dublin Mid-West, she offers an alternative to all the other parties, which, to one degree or another, bow before the altar of the capitalist market. She finds herself in agreement with both Mr. Bernie Sanders and Mr. Jeremy Corbyn that a fair society, a society free from the rule of the profiteers, would have no billionaires and no one living in poverty.

While campaigning on all issues that affect workers, women and young people, Solidarity will strive to make mental health a genuine issue in this by-election. In the United Kingdom, 13% of the health budget goes towards mental health services. In this country, the proportion is a mere 6%. That is wrong. It leads to great distress and loss of life and it must change. Mental health is a complex issue. Many factors are at play. Who could deny, however, that precarious work, precarious housing and educational stresses are not major factors? Who could deny that a system that puts profit before the needs of people is not a major driver of the mental health crisis in this society? We aim to make this a real topic of conversation in Cork North-Central and beyond in November. I recommend to the voters of Cork North-Central that they put Councillor Ryan into the Dáil at the end of the month to represent them.

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