A New Future for West Cork Cllr Gear贸id Buckley
Cllr Gear贸id Buckley Chapel Street, Bandon Cllr Gear贸id email@example.com BUCKLEY 085 2438330
Introduction & Contents
Introduction Ireland now relies on the help of other countries to fund our State. That Ireland which has been brought to this tragic juncture in our history reflects a massive loss of market and international political confidence in this Government’s economic policies. In this document you will see practical and realistic ideas which can bring about a real change in the fortunes of our people. The underlying message throughout this document is based on the sustainable cooperation of our communities which can develop local economies which can resist the external forces which have brought turmoil to our society. If I am selected by the Labour Party members to contest the next General Election I will hold public meetings across the constituency, and present these ideas. This feedback will then be sent to Labour Party members so we as an organisation can develop a manifesto on which we will campaign on. If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Contents Economic Development & Growth
A New Republic
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Economic Development & Growth
Economic Development and Employment Growth at Local & National Level The strategy for economic development and employment growth is to: • support indigenous economic development and implement an economic stimulus package to fund targeted investments to generate employment in the short term; • address the deficiencies in the financial sector in terms of regulation, access to credit and mortgage; • Use our Pension Fund & local cooperative banking facilities to Create jobs & support building of local infrastructure e.g. schools, care facilities and flood prevention projects – create community task forces to identify areas for development – employ local community skilled and unskilled workforce under supervision of Cork County Council
Indigenous economic development Invest in the growth of indigenous enterprise and an infrastructure to support innovation. A state investment bank should be established to guarantee funding for small enterprises and to provide venture capital to grow local businesses. Pursue and achieve specific targets to nurture and grow particular sectors – the SMART economy, tourism, creative IT, cultural enterprise, food production, conversion industries, high level financial services, care economy, the green economy,
Generating green jobs Establishment of five wave energy projects serving approx 100,000 homes/businesses and generating up to 7,000 jobs – CSW has huge potential.
Maximise energy efficiency through investment in a ‘low-carbon energy scheme’ resulting in up to 75% of domestic homes and small and medium sized businesses becoming energy neutral or close to (insulation, energy generation, use of technology).
Generating social economy jobs Establish a social economy fund to support the creation and operation of enterprises involving economic activity for social gain. A range of specific sectors to be defined for support including care services, local/community facilities and services, water harvesting, energy saving and recycling initiatives, and cultural initiatives. The fund criteria to establish enterprises serving disadvantaged communities and employing members of disadvantaged communities.
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Organic Food Production
State agencies involved in provision of meals (hospitals, some schools, prisons, care facilities) will purchase 25 % (minimum) of required food from the surrounding region (vegetables, meats, milk, bread). 2. A National Ethical Trade Initiative will be established. The Ethical Trade Initiative to develop a formal agreement with large scale supermarket chains, e.g. Tesco, Supervalu, Aldi, Lidl, etc., on actively supporting local food production. 3. Every urban area (pop 3,000) to have a food market supported by local authorities and a dedicated grant scheme for local producers. 4. Develop supports to enable access to organic farming and effective commercialisation of organic products. Improved marketing in order that Ireland can once again become top food producers in the world.
Supporting Local Employment
Develop and implement a job retention strategy in selected enterprises experiencing time limited trading difficulties that will reduce labour costs, sustain employment levels and protect wages. This strategy to be based on the introduction of flexible working arrangements for part-time or short-time working, the provision of training (including on the job training) and the use of social welfare payments to support earnings. Develop a job rotation programme to pay for replacement staff to cover staff released to engage in training, to pursue other interests or to engage in caring work. Require companies to link gains from shareholdings and bonuses to long term economic success rather than short term stock value changes.
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Financial Sector All further loans taken into NAMA to be paid at current market value. An audit to be carried out on NAMA holdings to identify infrastructure that could be used for social benefit – housing, schools, care facilities, social services facilities and social economy infrastructure. Develop new governance requirements for the financial sector to include a wider variety of interests including disadvantaged communities.
Cllr Gearóid Buckley discussing his finance proposals with Labours Deputy Leader and Finance spokesperson Joan Burton
Credit A financial services entity to be identified and supported to address household indebtedness, mortgage defaults, and to facilitate household credit. Low income groups to be prioritised. Mortgages/repossessions A limit on house price-income ratios of possibly 3.5 times of joint incomes. Bulk mortgage deals to the developers of newly built developments will be limited and closely monitored. A prohibition of buying mortgage portfolios from other lenders to increase the size of the mortgage book. Extend moratorium on repossessions of family homes. Develop a process to write mortgages down to market value in low income contexts.
Support Gearóid Support a Labour Future 5 Cllr Gearóid
Sustainable development reflects the need to achieve a balance between economic development, environmental protection and social progress in ways which recognise the vulnerability of future generations. It requires development strategies which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. •
Publish and implement the renewed National Sustainable Development Strategy including clear indicators for measuring progress.
Publish a Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development.
Provide state support for local resilience initiatives such as the eco-village at Cloughjordan, Darrargh, and the Transition Towns Initiative.
Overturn current built environment policy which contributes to urban sprawl, increases GHG emissions and undermines social cohesion.
Expand the Warmer Homes Scheme.
Expand the Rural Transport Scheme.
Increased decentralisation of political power
Adequate funding for community groups to participate meaningfully
Increasingly link LA21 Grants to social inclusion goals.
Publish a National Climate Change Adaption Strategy.
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Transparency, Accountability & Responsible Democracy •
• • • •
Democratic reform is required to enhance the legitimacy of democratic systems, to secure a wider participation in governance and to further evolve the capacity of democratic processes to give leadership and direct social and economic development. Convene an electoral commission to define an electoral system based on a mixed list and constituency approach to elections that would sustain the diversity of political parties, maintain a constituency link to the Dail and secure a legislative/policy competence in the Dail and achieve gender equality and diversity in representation. Seek Reduction in the overall numbers of Oireachtas Members. Develop a system whereby Oireachtas members are properly accountable to the Dail, Constituency Council and local branches Extend the vote to Irish citizens living abroad. Reform the Seanad electoral procedure to include a community and voluntary sector panel. • Introduce an Oireachtas Charter to establish agreed standards that would shape the manner in which politicians play their role in society. These standards would inform the exercise of political leadership, participation in the Dail and Seanad, campaigning outside the Dail and Seanad and promoting new trust in politics. A similar charter would be introduced at local authority level.
Empower Oireachtas committees to originate new legislation.
Allow voting by Dail and Seanad members, free from the Party whip, in a wide number of defined debates. Develop a similar system to operate at local authority level.
• Cllr Gearóid Buckley speaking at Labour Party Conference 2010 proposing a motion to publish all Labour Party Representatives expenses
Create a system that would enable citizens to secure a Dail debate by Citizen Petition or to originate legislation by Citizen Initiative on issues of significant concern.
Introduce standards of internal democracy to be respected within political parties. These standards would be required to be met to avail of public funds made available to political parties.
Establish an Independent Expenses body that would regulate political expenses and review earnings of each representative.
The high cost to tax payers of Ministerial cars and advisors must be regulated.
Devolve power to local authority level to raise taxes and to direct, coordinate and set priorities in key public services in the field of education, health, housing/accommodation, and transport. Goals and standards, including in relation to equality, inclusion and sustainability, to be established at national level.
Implement a system of participatory planning at community level. Introduce requirements in relation to equality/inclusion/sustainability impact assessment and to the participation of communities experiencing poverty and inequality in this planning. 7 Cllr Gearóid
I have entered politics because I believe I can play a positive role in this countries fortunes. All of my life I have dedicated time into making the lives of those in our community better. I have a proven track record of standing up for my electorate. Expenses or salaries does not represent my interest in politics, my motivation is people. People need to form the foundations of a platform which will lead our country into a new era. An era where active citizenship plays a vital role in policy making and debate. People are tired of the political hierarchy and the status it carries. People now want representatives from their community to represent them in the highest forum in our land. I believe I can offer the people of West Cork real representation, hardwork, communication and most of all an ability to listen and air their views on the national platform. I have outlined some ideas in this document, but I need you and other Labour members to develop a manifesto which is capable of grasping the imagination of our neighbours, friends and families right across the constituency. Many people are disillusioned by politics in this moment in time, people want an alternative to what is on offer, people want work, ideas, energy and most of all hope for our future. I believe I can represent hope for the people of West Cork, and in doing so bring the West Cork Labour message to Leinster House. I humbly ask for your support at convention, let us the Labour Party of Cork South West take a lead in offering our communities an alternative.
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A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW REPUBLIC
Speech by Cllr Geraóid Buckley delivered to the UCC Law Society Debate On Wednesday, 3rd November 2010 (Check Against Delivery)
A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW REPUBLIC AUDITOR, FELLOW SPEAKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO PROPOSE THE MOTION: That the 1937 Bunreacht and the Institutions it established are inadequate to meet the needs of 21st Century Ireland. We need, as a people, to consider and shape how we are going to order our affairs for the next two generations or more. We need to evaluate if the institutions established under the 1937 Bunreacht are inadequate to meet the needs of 21st century Ireland. It is time, in my view, for a fundamental review of our constitution. There is much about the constitution that has served us well, but it is document written in the 1930s for the 1930s. A time when one church was considered to have a special position and women were considered to be second class citizens. A French socialist writing after 1848 Revolutions concluded that “the past is by definition a fact that nothing can modify, but knowledge of the past is a thing in progress, which progresses and changes without end”. And if we are to truly learn from the experience of the past, then we need to look again, in a considered way, at the fundamental rules that bind us together. The 1937 constitution and the institutions it established are not adequate to meet the political, economic, social and cultural changes that have occurred in our nation since its conception. Its inherent inadequacies are constantly been challenged through judicial review, all party Oireachtas Committee, individual and group submissions which has resulted in nearly thirty amendments and 3 Referendum Acts 1994, 1998, & 2001 since 1937. The chief contributors to 1937 Bunreacht included Article 46 because they were aware of its inadequacy.
Article 46 of the Constitution provides that any provision of the Constitution may be amended, whether by way of variation, addition or repeal. It also provides that every proposal for amendment must be initiated in Dáil Éireann as a Bill. Having been passed or deemed to have been passed by both houses of the Oireachtas, the Bill is submitted by referendum to the decision of the people.
Bunreacht na hÉireann has been the subject of periodic review which supports the argument that its inadequate to meet the demands of 21st century Ireland. What emerges from the reviews, including the more recent ones by the Constitution Review Group and the two All-Party Oireachtas committees that have preceded this one, is that the Constitution is a fundamentally sound document but suggest that in addition previous amendments already carried out, some further amendments are necessary or desirable in order to renew the Constitution fully. We saw earlier today Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said there had been an “unreasonable delay” in the moving the writ for the by-election and that the people of Donegal south West had been denied there constitutional rights. Labour believes that “Our constitution belongs to the people, not just to political institutions. So, this must be a people's process”. What the Labour Party proposes is a constitutional convention. A coming together of all strands of Irish society to redraw our Constitution. The constitutional convention would include experts and specialists, but would also include individual citizens, randomly chosen to serve in much the same way that we choose juries. Charged with the task of keeping what is best in our constitutional tradition, and to develop a new constitution, fitted to our times and our aspirations. As Eamonn Gilmore states “Let us set ourselves the target to have it ready for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising, that seminal moment when our state was conceived”. 9 Cllr Gearóid
A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW REPUBLIC
Constitutional reviews of the 1937 Bunreacht have already established that it is inadequate and necessary amendments have been put in place. But this type of process can be slow, expensive and prolonged exercise – Labour believes that Constitution convention inclusive of citizens would copper fasten the democratic ethos of our Constitution and make the process more accountable and transparent. Currently judicial reviews and amendments ensure that changes and reforms are negotiated by a chosen few. Delays in reform have impacted negatively on some of our more vulnerable citizens. We must build a responsible democracy and Labours Constitutional Convention would ensure more participation, representation, deliberation for civic society and impose more accountability and transparency on our political system. This type of process would invigorate our institutions and verify that they are connected to the social, political, economic and cultural needs of 21st century Ireland. Ours is the history of a people, driven, in each generation, to shape their own future. Now, once again, in this generation, we should have the confidence, the determination, the imagination, to take control of our own destiny, and to shape our country and our future. Can there be any better or more productive to make our democracy and institutions more responsible, accountable and adequate to the needs of 21st century Ireland than by citizens been represented, participating and deliberating in the construction of a new constitution and the more adequate and just institutions it will create. A new constitution based on responsible democracy, human rights, community, citizenship and care will build solidarity within Irish society; the ties of gratitude, affection, social debt, obligation and reciprocity, etc. which ensures that a society involves commitments to intrinsic values and standards, especially to do with justice, equality, emancipation, and dignity. Karl Marx declared that philosophers have only ever interpreted the world but that the point is to change it, he expressed only a more fundamental maxim of all modernity and of all modern thinking”. This is the ‘theoria-contemplation’, as the ancient Greeks defined it – finds no genuine truth unless and until it mediated with praxis, with practical engagement with the tasks of the here and now: the task of politics, the task of using society shared constituted powers to make the conditions of life better: freer, fairer, and happier for everyone”. In this sense the maxim of modernity is that though we remain mortal, we possess the power, responsibility and capability to make the best of our existence, by creating a world that offers everyone an equal chance for a fulfilling social life. The way forward in 21st Century Ireland must be guided by a Constitution and institutions that are based on the ethos of solidarity as it binds people to one another in the promotion of the common good. And the Ireland we will build will be rooted in Fairness, in every strand of life and in every way we do our business. As Eamonn Gilmore declares a “One Ireland”. One Ireland. Of Women and men. Old and Young. Gay and straight. All equal. One Ireland. Of Employers and employees. Farmers and business people. Private sector and public sector. Working in the home and volunteering in the community. We all make our contribution and we should all be treated fairly. Giving according to our means. Receiving according to our needs. One Ireland. Of different nationalities, of diverse religions and of no religion. It does not matter whence we came or when we came. Ireland is our common homeland now. The land for all our children which we need to cherish all equally. One Ireland. An Ireland of equals which can only be achieved through a total revaluation of our Constitution and Institutions. I ask you to support the motion that, “That the 1937 Bunreacht and the Institutions it established are inadequate to meet the needs of 21st Century Ireland”. Let the people of Ireland be the architects of the next constitution thus ensuring that our institutions are adequate to meet the demands of 21st century Ireland. Thank you
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