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The Public Service Executive Union represents Executive Grades in the Civil Service & the wider Public Sector.



Seanad Elections 2016

By scarabini, Thursday, 21st April 2016 | 0 comments

A large proportion of PSEU members have a vote in the upcoming Seanad elections (the Trinity College panel or the NUI panel).

 Thus, the PSEU has sent the following three very short questions to each candidate:

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?
  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?
  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Below are the responses received (to date) from Seanad candidates (listed alphabetically by surname).

Please note - this will be updated as new responses are received.


Responses from Candidates

Candidate Name: Seán Barrett

What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

 I believe that all the Irish people paid a harsh penalty for the profligacy of our banking and construction sector and failed regulators. As funds become available nominal wages should rise. Ultimately the first response should look first to equalize pay conditions between recent entrants to the civil service and those that joined before 2009. The situation of public finances at present is that we are more constrained, not less, as we move into the preventative arm and our of the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. As funds become more available, ultimately funding should look first to future investment followed by other aspects of current expenditure. 

What are your priorities for investment in public services?

 Education. The future of Ireland is based on the development of its' young people. 

I would look to repairs. At the moment the capital assets of Ireland have been allowed to become dilapidated as capital expenditure was cut to the bone. All new capital expenditure needs to rigorously subject to cost benefit analysis. The IGEES should be doing that now and in the future. 

Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

​Why vote for Senator Sean Barrett?

A Fairer Ireland

I believe Ireland can become a great society, in which the economy serves its citizens, and not the other way round, in which young people can aspire to own a home and live their lives with the same freedom their parents had, and in which education at all levels is valued for the way in which it enriches our lives and enables us to contribute to an ever-diversified world.

I was elected to the Seanad in 2011 on a platform of reform, transparency and accountability along with a promise to bring my expertise to the Oireachtas. In the past five years I’ve become a leading voice on the opposition benches of the Seanad, tabling seven Private Members’ Bills and over 300 amendments to Government Bills. I spoke out against key government policy such as such as the sale of Aer Lingus, the disastrous formation of Irish Water and the wasteful expenditure on Eircode. While growth figures for the Irish economy continue to be positive, this isn't translating into real change for the Irish citizen or for society as a whole. Economic growth needs to be fairly distributed. The Irish people suffered greatly during the crisis and deserve relief.

Advocating for Higher Education

I will bring your concerns about the future of education in Ireland to the Oireachtas and have tabled two Private Members’ Bills relating to higher education reform. On multiple occasions I have called on the government to seriously address the lack of qualified mathematics teachers at secondary level. I remain a staunch defender of university autonomy and increased third-level funding. The international evidence is that the more autonomous a university is, the better it performs. Our university and higher education sector needs to be given the capacity to plan and flourish into the coming decades as it meets the challenges of a more demanding workforce and to defend the role of the arts and humanities along with the sciences to create a knowledge-rich society. As Ireland’s most successful and autonomous university, Trinity has a huge role to play in leading the education sector and I am a voice for this in the Seanad.


Smart Government


It is vital now more than ever to have a high level of economic expertise in the ear of the government to ensure that mistakes of the past are not repeated. The Seanad needs someone who will bring serious critical thinking to bear on its day to day business. The main issues I will tackle in the next five years are the housing crisis, encouraging banking that works for the Irish people, and education. My focus in all of these will be to create a fairer Ireland. I will continue to stand for increased transparency in policymaking and increased accountability in economics, as well as remaining a staunch defender of the autonomy of Irish universities, with Trinity leading by example. Having enjoyed a 34-year career as an Economics professor in Trinity, I will be a voice for the future of the university in the Seanad.

If you vote for me to represent the Trinity College alumni community I will bring this vision to the Seanad focusing on a number of key issues:

·  Advocating practical solutions to Housing Crisis     

·  Bringing about a Fairer Economic Recovery     

·  Ensuring that Higher Education is allowed to develop

·  Supporting transparency, openness and accountability in government, including the civil service.

Candidate Name: David Begg

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

With an economic growth rate approaching 8 per cent, and after nine years of public service retrenchment, workers are entitled to seek salary increases to restore the living standards they lost.   In fact the biggest economic challenge facing Europe today is deflation.   We need to see wage increases all across Europe to stimulate demand.

If elected to the Seanad, I will advocate this analysis whenever possible.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Public services which are universally available are the hallmark of a good society.   I have always advocated that Ireland should learn from the Nordic countries which are the most economically efficient and socially cohesive in the world.   We need to change our attitude to taxation and public spending in order to make real progress in this area.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Whatever form the new government takes it is likely to be centre-right in orientation making Leinster House a cold place for public servants.   My principal opponent in this election, Mr. Michael McDowell, is on the record as advocating a government strong enough to stand up to the public service unions.   PSEU members should vote for me to put a voice into Leinster House to counterbalance some of this hostility.   I have attended PSEU conferences for thirty years so members know me well and what I stand for.

Candidate Name: Sabrina Brennan

What will you do to restore cuts in public servants pay.

I support restoration, as a public servant I have first hand experience of the cuts and increased hours. I would also support any measures to prevent employers from issuing ‘specific-purpose’ contracts as a means to avoid giving staff who have more than 2 continuous fixed-term contracts or more than 4 years service open ended contracts.

What are you priorities for investment in public services

 Health and Education

 We need to plan for population ageing.

The priority must be to keep people as healthy for as long as possible with services and resources allocated to support independent community living. We need to mobilise public health approaches to promote healthy ageing and invest in public health education in an attempt to reduce the prevalence of dementia through primary prevention.

 Specifically I would prioritise resourcing and implementation of:

  • The Positive Ageing Strategy to include a combat ageism plan
  • The National Neurorehabilitation Strategy
  • The National Dementia Strategy and
  • A renewed Carer’s Strategy

 Education can contribute to increased health inequalities by perpetuating cycles of intergenerational and socioeconomic disadvantage. Breaking the cycle requires strategic investment in education and lifelong learning and cooperation between departments of health and education to harness education as a means to a healthier Ireland. Interventions to address inequalities in education need to prioritise  the most disadvantaged since initiatives that target all of the population may give rise to additional benefits for the more advantaged.

Resourcing rogrammes that support families and children are essential and addressing education throughout the lifecycle is critical from free preschool years to retaining children in primary and secondary education and lifelong learning. 

Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I am a psychologist, a parent and a passionate advocate for equality and human rights. I direct a dementia research programme in Trinity College Dublin where my work focuses on prevention and on changing the trajectory of the disease by delaying the onset and severity of symptoms using method such as health promotion, education and other interventions.

I am an independent candidate unencumbered by a party whip. I believe in evidenced-based reform, I am articulate and passionate and am not afraid to speak up and speak out. 

Informed by my personal passions and my professional background, I have carefully chosen priority actions that I believe have the capacity for progressive change and meaningful impact.

I believe in empowerment through education and have prioritised inequalities on the grounds of age, disability, gender and religious belief.

If I am elected I will proactively and passionately pursue these actions because I believe that we have reached a point where we cannot meet our equality and human rights obligation without clearly articulated equality and human rights action plans and radical educational, health and constitutional reform.

I believe that pursuing the actions that I have prioritised will drive cultural change in a way that will hugely benefit of all of Irish society. I believe that upholding the principles of equality and human rights could and should be fundamental to our sense of national identity.

I have a vision to integrate equality and human rights into Irish society so that we view it as a positive personal aspiration and a priority public duty. I propose that we do this by embedding equality and human rights within our education, our legislation, our constitution, our government, our policies, our practices and our personal lives. 

Candidate name: Tom Clonan

I'm running as my son, 14 has lost almost all of his services due to austerity and cuts to health.

I'm campaigning on a platform of equality and social justice with a particular emphasis on restoration of public services and an end to the demonisation of public servants by my fellow journalists.

I'm a public servant (Lecturer, DIT and member of TUI)  I was an army officer for 11 years - with limited representation in the workplace and no at first hand what it is to work in a dangerous environment as a public servant for poor pay and conditions.

Prior to that I was a national school teacher and member of the INTO

I've had articles published in the TUI and INTO, IHCA winter newsletters outlining my opposition to the false narrative in Irish journalism that seeks to divide 'public' and 'private' sector workers.  Demonising the former and eroding the terms and conditions of both sets of workers.

  • What will I do to restore the cuts to Public Servants Pay?

I will do everything in my power to restore cuts to public servants pay - and to restore public services.  Ireland may be the 'best little country in the world to do business in' but it is the worst place in Ireland to be disabled, homeless or elderly on a trolley.  The flight of talent from public services is a product of low pay and also the routine demonisation of public servants in our media and public discourse.  As a Senator I would challenge and transform that  narrative.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Restoration of services for disabled and elderly.  There are 600,000 people with disabilities in Ireland and 250,000 carers.  This is an invisible community - I know, I'm a carer for my son.  Austerity has destroyed therapies and services that allow people to live autonomous, independent lives.   These include disabled children and adults and the elderly.  The amount of money saved is grossly disproportionate to the amount of suffering imposed in order to bail out bankers.  it is also a false economy as it requires a larger spend to house people in inappropriate congregated settings as community services have been destroyed by cuts and austerity agenda.

The money exists to put a water meter outside every home in the state - all that is missing to restore services is the political will.  We know it is a neccessary spend.  If elected I will - as a parent of a seriously ill child - be a voice for investment in our public services, health, education, an Garda Siochana - right across the spectrum.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for me?

Because I am a fellow public servant and parent and carer who knows at first hand the importance of our public servants and public services.  I'm not a recreational politician nor am I an elitist sitting senator. Please reject the status quo and do not vote for senators who voted with the government to impose cuts on the most vulnerable in Irish society - vote for me - be the change and vote for Tom Clonan for equality and the full restoration of public services.

Candidate Name: Marie Darker

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I don’t believe full restoration could happen immediately but I do believe it is achievable over the course of the next government. If elected I would firstly, fully support the continued implementation of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. Secondly, I would support your Trade Union’s campaign to restore pre – 2009 levels of pay, citing growth forecast for Ireland of at least 3.5% leading to a budget surplus in 2017. My rationale for supporting the restoration is that a growing economy depends on a robust system of public sector services - we need to retain experienced workers in the public sector. An excellent transport system, an efficient postal and telecommunications service, the provision of cultural services, police and rescue services and legal services – all are essential to sustained economic growth. Public sector workers are more likely to be skilled than those in the private sector, they are highly educated and the workplace is more likely to be supportive of gender equality.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services? ·

Increase the number of hospital beds and reduce emergency waiting times · Recruit more front line Gardaí and civilian administrative back office personnel · Introduce a ‘living wage’ of 11.50 p.h. – a fair income, a strong society · Examine the issue of the tax avoidance by large international companies based in Ireland · Provide specialist services for the education of children with a disability to give them the best start in life. · Investment in childcare facilities and provision of financial incentives to enable parents to buy affordable childcare, enabling them to access work opportunities.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

If elected I will be an advocate of equality, a sustainable economy and social responsibility. As a Senator I will listen to the concerns of your members, I will ask parliamentary questions of the Minister and I will ask questions in Joint Committee sessions. I will seek to influence policy in the Dáil by working closely with TDs. I will work hard to gain support among colleagues to introduce legislation in the Seanad to support the working family. For your members, I will support a restoration to previous levels of pay. In recognition that a great many public servants are working longer hours and that their work/home life balance may be affected, I will support any sensible changes in core working hours to incorporate flexible hours and job sharing. Since growth in the private sector may result in a drain of talent from public service areas, I will support your Union in their campaign to improve the promotion prospects of your members and to ensure that serving civil servants are not disadvantaged in open or interdepartmental competition.

Candidate Name:Ed Davitt

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I recognise the serious hardship that many public servants have been facing since the implementation of various rounds of cuts and levies imposed on them since 2009. While I believe that a single independent senator will have a very limited ability to directly control government budgetary policy, I would if elected support and work towards the continuation of a stable and diversified tax base, and the restoration of some of the income lost as per the Lansdowne Road Agreement, and beyond should growth figures permit it in the future. I would seek that such restoration was focused particularly on the lower earning members of the public service, and that it was balanced with the need to improve services and working conditions through the hiring of new personnel.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

The number one priority for increased deployment of financial resources in the short term must be our public health service, including not only accident and emergency, but also the mental health and primary care sectors.  Without more attractive pay and conditions with the health service, we will not be able to retain and attract the necessary personnel required. I am also concerned about the level of stress and pressure faced by those particularly on the front lines, such as emergency medical technicians, junior doctors and others, and recognise the need for resources to improve their working conditions.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I am running jointly with Barry Johnston (NUI panel) on a platform of welcoming home Ireland’s recently emigrated, as laid out in our Emigrant Manifesto ( As part of this we are looking to shape government policy towards the diaspora to welcome the best and brightest of them back to Ireland to help to make Ireland a republic of equality, fairness and social cohesion. I am also working to bring European, environmental and other neglected areas to the forefront of political discussion, and I believe a vote for me is a vote for a more progressive and deliberate Oireachtas.

Candidate Name: Owen J. Dineen

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

Of course I would like to see pay levels restored and more importantly I would like to see pay scales abolished for people who carry out the same work. As a former trade unionist SIPTU & NBRU I feel very strongly about this.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Investment in public service is critical in any society, If elected i would be souting this from the roof of Leinster House until someone listens. Civil servants, doctors (young doctors especially) teachers, members of an garda siochana to name but a few have all been effected greatly over the last number of years by the cuts. 

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I am seeking election to Seanad Eireann and I am asking for your members to vote DINNEEN Number 1 to be a Fresh Voice in Leinster House. Your members can read more about me on my website at I will be happy to answer any individual questions from members. I am not saying I can change the world if elected, however, I am saying I will do my very best. I will dedicate 100% of my time to my work in Seanad Eireann if elected. Any of my previous careers undertaken I excelled in them all, I was a very good chef, train driver and student, I finished my cooking career as a head chef in one of Cork citys most popular restaurants. I was a very good train driver until I was forced to retire on medical grounds. I was a very good student obtaining First Class Honours and Graduate of the Year, the only Mature Student ever to achieve such an award. Since graduation I have spent the last seven years working voluntary for my local secondary school, on the bord of governors of ucc, on the senate of the NUI and as a registered volunteer with the United Nations

Candidate Name: Luke Field

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I support the negotiation of a new public sector pay deal ahead of the conclusion of the current Lansdowne Road Agreement in 2018. The goal of this deal should be to continue pay restoration across the board and resolve any outstanding issues from FEMPI, if not already completed according to the existing Agreement's timeline, and to begin increasing pay. In particular, the gross pay of lower-scale salary workers and part-time/job-sharing workers, who may not benefit from other measures such as increasing the PRD threshold, should be targeted for increase. Additionally, the two-tier system that disadvantages newer entrants should be eliminated as quickly as possible.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

I fully believe that public investment needs to take priority over tax reduction measures. My own area of interest, as someone working in the sector, is higher education. Irish higher education has suffered significant cuts to its State funding over the last number of years and will require substantial investment in order to cope with projected increases in student numbers between now and 2030. Additional investment will also need to be prioritised in order to improve pay and working conditions for staff in the sector, who have been subjected to increased precarity at work.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

As a fellow trade unionist also in the public sector, I share many of the concerns of PSEU members. I am committed to an Ireland that values its public servants, and that prioritises the long-term social benefits of properly-resourced public services over short-term tax reduction measures. If elected to Seanad Éireann, I will be a voice for public goods, public services, and the renewed public investment needed to protect them. More information on my priorities is available here:

Candidate Name: Laura Harmon

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I believe society should value the important contribution public service workers make to our country by ensuring they are paid decent wages with fair working conditions. At the cornerstone of my Seanad campaign is the principle that Ireland should become a more equal society. I believe that all workers should earn a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. That is why I support the winding down of FEMPI and efforts to restore public sector pay. The rates of pay for entry level jobs in the public service need to be improved as well to attract more young people. Ireland has the fastest growing economy in the European Union for the second year in a row - it is only fair that public service workers see an increase in their pay, so that everyone feels the benefits of economic recovery. 

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Our public services need more investment. Under investment in our public services not only leads to a deterioration in the quality of service, it is also adds pressure on the workers who provide the service. I believe the emphasis in Irish society should be on investing in and improving our public services, not cutting taxes. Investing in our public services is not only the right thing to do but it also boosts Ireland's competitiveness and attractiveness for investment if we have decent infrastructure and public services. As a former president of the Union of Students in Ireland I care passionately about our education system. I stand for fully exchequer funded third level education. I believe fees present a significant barrier of access to third level education for low income families which is grossly unfair. We need to invest more in education to tackle this problem.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I believe Irish politics lacks new, young voices. Our political system does not reflect modern Ireland. I want to be a Senator that reflects modern Ireland. I want to raise issues such as: a living wage, investing in childcare, repealing the 8th amendment and creating a more egalitarian education system. My campaign is built on the principle of making Ireland a more equal society and that is a key objective of the Union movement too. As a former president of the Union of Students in Ireland I believe passionately in the importance of unions, if elected to the Seanad I will work with unions to champion decent work for all.

Candidate Name: Aideen Hayden

What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I am in favour of increasing the level of public service pay as the economy has returned to growth and the public finances have improved, particularly for lower and middle levels of pay. The understanding reached with the Unions was that the cuts were an emergency measure needed to keep the country solvent, and that understanding should be honoured.

What are your priorities for investment in public services?

The priority that I am personally most concerned about is housing, as the country is currently facing a housing crisis. This takes the form of homelessness for many hundreds of families, and the potential threat of homelessness faced by tens of thousands of others, whether due to overwhelming mortgage arrears or galloping increases in rent levels. It means the cost of a home representing an excessive part of a family’s monthly income, particularly those who set up home in the last twenty years.  It also means that young families are being shut out of the chance to buy their own properties, or to access decent rented property. The state needs to pursue an active role in addressing all of issues, and investment is particularly needed in both building social housing and in stimulating the development of construction generally, with a changed mandate for NAMA, as well as in regulating market conditions more effectively and supporting first time buyers.

In addition to housing, my priorities would be investment in both education and health services.

Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Members of the PSEU are just as likely as any other section of society to be facing difficulties in obtaining a good home, in holding onto the homes that they have or managing their household budgets given the cost of housing, or for their children to be facing those problems. I have a strong track record in championing housing reforms such as the emergency two-year rent freeze imposed before Christmas, and have won recognition for my expertise in these issues from Ministers and officials. I believe therefore that I can play an even more important role in addressing these vital issues in the years ahead, given the magnitude of a housing crisis that has still not been adequately addressed.

Candidate Name: Rory Hearne

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I will campaign for the restoration of the cuts if I am elected to the Seanad. I have already highlighted the issue of the impact of the reduced pay of new entrants and the issues of casualisation within the public sector. See article I wrote on this in the Irish Times here from April 4th.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

 My priorities - which are outlined in my website include:

  • Affordable and social housing:
  • Creating a national Housing & Affordable Homes Agency; better tenant protections; strong housing rights; and a public forum on the housing crisis.
  • Addressing child poverty and community disadvantage
  • Investing in regeneration of disadvanataged communities
  • Investing in community and youth work
  • Affordable public childcare
  • A high quality and affordable universal public health system


  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

From my community work with Dolphin House & Barnarndos, my PhD research, as a lecturer in Maynooth and in my current job as a senior policy analyst dealing with issues of economic inequality - I have developed a strong expertise in the areas that are critical to bringing about a better Ireland  - such as housing, well funded and high quality public services, poverty, childcare,  political reform, and inequality.

I have shown in my contributions to national media (such as  the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and RTE) that I am a passionate and authoritative independent expert – not afraid to speak my mind, highlight the issues affecting the most vulnerable and challenge the powerful and engage in robust debate

I am also a long time activist & campaigner involved in empowering local communities and standing up for social justice. 

I am also a dad of a young family so I know the reality of challenges of childcare costs, healthcare, worrying for education and I am very concerned about what type of Ireland are we creating for all of our children.

I provide a unique combination of academic and policy expertise, the real life experience of being a parent, with a campaigning background and firm commitment social justice, democracy and equality.  I am willing to ask the important questions, develop workeable solutions and highlight the real issues affecting people on the ground –and  I commit to challenging the cosy consensus of cronyism and corruption in Irish politics.

Candidate Name: Alice-Mary Higgins

Equality has been a driving principle for me since my earliest days campaigning in Galway  and throughout almost twenty years of national and international public advocacy.

A graduate of UCD,  I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the New School for Social Research in New York, where I combined academic work with activism, including work on the World Social Forum and solidarity campaigns with Union 169.  

Returning to Ireland, I ran the Comhlámh Anti-Racism Project, before moving to Trócaire where I campaigned on climate change, food security and peace-building.  I was also elected as SIPTU shop steward to negotiate on behalf of my 180 fellow staff and I represented them on the Communities Against Cuts Committee.

Moving to Older & Bolder, I worked with older people across Ireland to deliver a successful ‘Defend the State Pension’ campaign. I also developed the ‘Make Home Work’ campaign on homecare supports and advocated for a strong National Positive Ageing Strategy.

Most recently, as Policy Coordinator with the National Women’s Council of Ireland, I have campaigned for gender equality at all levels and in all aspects of our national life. In developing NWCI manifestos and Pre-Budget submissions, I have consistently called for greater  investment in Public Services. I have also served as an invited expert to Joint Oireachtas Committees and the Low Pay Commission, highlighing the impact of austerity cuts, precarious work and pension inequality on women in Ireland.

Elected to the Executive of the European Women’s Lobby, I offer a strong understanding of policy formation at EU level. I have also worked within UN structures and recently addressed the United Nations Committee for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

I have been a consistent campaigner for a more progressive Ireland, from the Divorce Referendum in 1995 to the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015.

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

 The cuts in pay and increase in hours have caused hardship for many public sector workers. They also undermined morale across the public sector, impairing its ability to deliver the services we need for a sustainable and socially just recovery.

These cuts have too often been accompanied by misrepresentation, and even demonisation, of public sector workers and other trade unionists. It is important to consistently reaffirn that it was casino economics rather then public spending which led to the 2009 crash.

From my work in the National Women’s Council on the gender pay gap and in Older and Bolder on pensions, I am acutely aware of the particular impact on older workers and on women. 2014 ESRI research found that women in couples had suffered a 14% loss in income compared to 9% for men. They specifically identified the cuts and freeze in Public Service pay and progression as a key factor in that loss.

I support a restoration process around the pay cuts imposed in 2009, ideally through a new agreement which could replace the Lansdowne Road agreement before its expiry. We also need to  reverse the petty rule changes in areas such as sick pay and flexible working hours which do nothing for effectiveness.  These have damaged all public sector workers, particularly women and those with caring responsibilities.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Investment in public services must be recognised as a greater national priority then tax cuts for higher earners. It is also essential that the principle of public service be reaffirmed as the best means of delivering quality supports that are truly accessible to all, particularly in areas such as health and education. 

The crisis in homelesness has highlighted the danger of over-reliance on market solutions to social needs. We need increased investment in essential infrastructure such as health, education, integrated transport and affordable, accessible childcare – along with quality contracts for staff in these areas.  This must include a rights-based approach.

Having worked with young people who are unemployed and also with older people, I am also passionate about the need for investment in youth work, community development, social care and mental health supports. Public investment in cultural participation and the arts is also very important and delivers real dividends for both society and the economy.

It is important that any new political commitments by the incoming Government are matched with adequate resources.  For example, the recent very welcome signing of the Istanbul Convention which sets out clear measures to tackle violence against women must be accompanied by increased  funding and staffing. We also need greater investment in public research as a driver of best practice and innovation.

I believe resources will be needed to effectively deliver the ‘Public Duty on Equality and Human Rights’ as set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission legislation. This is an opportunity to deliver equality proofing and impact assessment of social and economic policies.

These standards must also be extended to external contracts and I will work to ensure that those managing Public Procurement are given the scope to include strong quality criteria in terms of employment, equality and environment standards.

Although the recruitment embargo has been lifted, we need to secured additional resources, not just in terms of frontline staff but also in the many essential support areas which have been so painfully overstretched in recent years. None of this can be achieved without a cultural shift so that we value public services and public servants and remove the constraints on middle managers taking innovative action where needed.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

As a Senator, I will champion investment in Public Services and  work to protect and promote the principle of public delivery of Public Service.

I will not only press the Government on their national policies, I will also monitor and hold them to account for the positions they take at EU level, where so much of the battle for public service investment is taking place. I  will, for example, oppose current negotiations on TTIP or CETA as I do not believe they adequetely protect public services or the right to regulate.  

I will be a consistent and well informed public voice demanding respect and rights for public servants and the communities they serve. I will also highlight the potential of the public sector to serve as a driver of innovation, excellence and good practice.

I will continue to advocate for full equality between women and men, including the closing of the pay and pension gaps. 


Candidate Name: Barry Johnston

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I will focus my efforts on reversing differential pay scales and the casualiation of working conditions to tackle the social and economic time-bomb of intergenerational inequality that is building up in Ireland
I’m a former Administrative Officer in the Department of Justice; my last week in that job coincided with the Government bail-out of the banks. I’m particularly concerned that those entering the civil service after I left would have done so on diminished terms and conditions.
A student of two school teachers who were active in their unions, I’ve seen the importance and the benefits that strong unions bring to our society. Of my peers, those that haven’t emigrated have entered the work force on differential pay scales, or continued in casualised employment.


  • 2. What are your priorities for investment in public services?

I would argue for a move away from tax cuts towards the greater economic potential of public investment; focusing in particular on mental health and education and skills.
I would begin with focusing on revenue raising. For the past 5 years I have been a prominent advocate in the tax justice movement, campaigning against corporate tax avoidance; leading to reforms in the UK, at the OECD and UN.
It’s no mystery why we have failed to invest properly in public services to date. Ireland’s status as a low-tax/ no-tax/ no-questions-asked jurisdiction has always been morally dubious, but it is now increasingly clear that it is economically short-sighted. I will focus on scrutinising tax incentives that have no economic merit and ensuring multinationals pay the headline rate of tax. I have also proposed the creation of an Emigrant Bond (similar to the National Solidarity Bond and the Immigrant Investment Bond).
As well as breaching people’s rights to the highest possible standard of health, our shocking mental health services cost the state €3 billion per annum. As a mental health and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International I helped to set up the national umbrella organisations Mental Health Reform and led the campaign that was successful in offsetting 70 per cent of proposed cuts to mental health services in the 2010 budget. I will argue for the resourcing and implementation of the national mental health strategy A Vision for Change.
I am proposing the funds raised by an Emigrant Bond should be ring-fenced and invested in skills and technical training. This should be targeted at building up an indigenous workforce and creating employment in strategic industries that can integrate with the global economy, but lessen our over-reliance on chasing the tails of multinationals.


  • 3. Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Having chosen by referendum to keep the Seanad, we now need to make the second chamber more democratic and work to repay the trust that voters have put in it. I believe that this must begin with the candidates themselves and that the Seanad can be renewed by representing the voices that are currently excluded or pushed to the margins of society.

In particular, given my experience as a human rights advocate and tax justice campaigner, I am keenly aware of the obligations of the state through effective and resourced public administration, to respect, protect and fulfil the economic and social rights without discrimination to people in Ireland.

I would also be the first ever representative drawn from the 1 in 6 Irish living overseas who currently have no voice in Irish politics. Electors to the Seanad possess a privilege in Irish society. You have two votes whereas some citizens have none. I ask you to think about those voiceless Irish people living abroad - perhaps friends and family - and to cast your vote with them in mind.

Voters on the Trinity Panel should consider voting for my EmigrantManifesto running mate Ed Davitt.;; @B_CA_Johnston


Candidate Name: Daragh McGreal

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

The proposals under Lansdowne Road go some way to reversing the FEMPI cuts. Within this context, I welcome these changes. More broadly though, I do not agree with the approach of seeking to link current and future pay with pre-crisis pay, as I think this approaches the problem from the wrong angle. It is retrospective rather than responsive. Instead, I believe current and future pay should be reflective of good pay in other countries, not based on pay from 10 years ago. Rather than restoring cuts, we should be seeking to reward effort, and to do so in light of public sector pay in comparable EU28 states. 

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Having priorities for public service investment are only relevant if you have a philosophy about how to fund those services. My view is that our fiscal and economic models are flawed and hinder investment. Ireland is, comparatively, a low tax (as % of GDP) and low expenditure (as % of GDP) country. That’s clear from OECD and Eurostat data. It is precisely because we are low tax low spend that we underfund services and have problems with inequality. So the first thing is to increase the resources available for investment, through taxation. With these funds,  we should focus on investments that multiply. As examples, afforestation programmes would increase employment and decrease carbon emissions, more probation officers would decrease recidivism and reduce the costs of crime, commercialising university research would strengthen our indigenous industrial base, and widely available anf affordable early childhood care would allow more women enter the workforce and increase GDP. These are only some examples - more can be found on my site.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

PSEU members should vote for me because I believe in evidence-based policies that will improve their lives. I have lots of examples of this approach and other policy analysis on my website. My policies are logical, fair, and inclusive. Having trained to PhD level as an economist and legal academic in Germany, having worked internationally as a human rights consultant, and having worked in Leinster House under two TDs, I am a highly skilled candidate with expertise and experience and with a commitment to equality. I hope that voters see this as an opportunity to elect new talent to the Oireachtas. 

Candidate Name: Eoin Meehan

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

The ability of any member of the Seanad to influence Money Bills or legislation relating to budgets is severely limited. And this is one important aspect of the Seanad I want to reform. Cutting Public Servants pay was an easy choice for the Government to make. They cut pay, reduced services to the disadvantaged and disabled, and cut grants to those who needed them, rather than making the real perpetrators of the Financial Crisis pay.

I was working as a researcher when my pay was unilaterally reduced, even though I had a fixed, 2-year contract, with pay levels for both years agreed in the contract.

As a Senator, I will be able to raise the Public Servants pay cuts in the Seanad, and examine any legislation proposed that would adversely affect or postpone any restoration of pay.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Number 1 is health. I have seen the sharp end of the health service when it works and it is truly wonderful. My wife would be dead if not for our health service. But it is on a knife-edge. It needs proper funding and management.

Number 2 is education. From primary to third-level. I oppose student loans and support exchequer funding of third-level. My children have all benefitted from third-level education and I got to go to college after 40 years!

Number 3 is infrastructure. From roads to rail to broadband. Infrastructure supports our society, our business, our quality of life.

Number 4 is An Garda Siochana, Justice System, and Defense.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I want a society where public services are provided for the benefit of the citizens and the improvement of every citizen's quality of life. Not where services are provided for profit and the benefit of corporations. Good, efficient, public services are a fundamental requirement for an equal society and deserve on-going funding. Cutting funding as a quick-fix solution to a financial crisis, is ultimately more damaging to the country in the medium to long term.

Candidate name: Paddy Monahan

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

I was a public servant (Courts Service and Houses of the Oireachtas) for almost 10 years and I believe the public service has been scapegoated since the economic crash to hide the transgressions of people with far more power, influence and financial muscle.

Tough decisions were made in the wake of the crash and the public service stepped up with honour when called upon. It is time for the restoration of pay to public servants. Rank and file public servants did nothing to cause the crash but endured serious financial hardship as a result and took a great deal of unwarranted scorn and opprobrium. This is not the way to treat the people who provide essential State services, day in, day out.

The Lansdowne Road agreement had modest outcomes but showed the way and highlighted priorities. I will support all necessary measures to ensure pay restoration at the earliest opportunity.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

My priorities for public service investment are our education system, health service and public transport services.

My entire vision for the Seanad revolves around education and its importance to our children and to this country's future. Health service investment must be targeted to prioritise primary care and a shift towards preventative healthcare strategies in areas such as obesity, alcohol and tobacco consumption. In terms of public transport, I believe Ireland must do more to mirror continental Europe – fares must be lowered and subsidised to give people a real reason to choose public transport over their cars.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Why should PSEU members vote for me? Besides the above, I aim to right a wrong that goes to the heart of Ireland's status as a democracy and a republic.

Section 7 of the Equal Status Act 2000 allows schools to turn away children on the basis of religion when oversubscribed. Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act allows schools to choose teachers on the basis of religion. Unbaptised children and those of minority religions still must sit through religion class, albeit on their own at the back of the class, in most schools in the State. None of this is the fault of teachers. It is the fault of the State and it can be fixed through legislation.

As a barrister, I have drafted an Equality in Schools Bill that will, at last, end these forms of discrimination.

Please see my website for much more information.


Candidate Name: Dr. Eddie Murphy

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

As a clinical psychologist I am a public servant. I am aware through my clinics and research about the levels of debt relaated stress that many public servants are experiencing compounded by cuts, costs of child care and extending communting for some.   To this end restoring of these cuts would give individuals and families some breathing space. This is something I would strongly support.      

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

I support publically funded health, social and educational services that target mental health and wellbeing. As a passionately advocate for these solutions to reduce suicide and & Self-Harm: involve the provision of rapid access crises supports outside of A&E which are the wrong service for those with acute mental distress, assertive outreach and homecare teams and the provision of next day rapid access talk therapies. Funding for mental health is approx. 6% of the overall health budget, acknowledged experts indicate that it needs to be at 13% to make impact.

Disability & elderly services reflects the families overwhelmed, stressed, and under supported. We need to prioritise disability, autism and emotional support services for individuals and their families.   

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

No person either individually or through their family is immune from mental health difficulties. I believe I have the vision, passion and authenticity to advocate for rapid access, quality driven, compassionate and evidenced based therapies that promote hope, optimism, mental fitness and resilience. Effectively, services that are more responsive to the needs of our children, adults and families. If you want a focus on mental health & wellbeing, I woudl appreciate your NO 1 vote.

Candidate Name: Enda O'Coineen

Frankly I cannot make any promises if elected, and even if I did make promises,  taking up the position as an independent Senator my ability to deliver if at all, on promises  ( such as you might rightfully ask for below)  would not be possible.

My view is that despite what I view as a flawed political system, we have a top class public service and a generally well educated one - this I am qualified to say this having  worked professionally outside Ireland and around the world - with a particular focus on Central Europe - where I have seen some dreadful civil and public service,

In Summary I outline three reasons why your members might consider voting for me in addition to judging my track record, drive and ideas for the future  - as one who has never gone for public office, is independent  and now wishes to take the plunge rather than being a ‘hurler on the ditch’ or 'sitting on the quayside"

If elected I would be pushing to create an Entrepreneurial culture in our Public Service - and I don’t mean one driven by financial profit, rather to be constantly evening, adoption new ideas, new approaches and new thinking for a better society.
For the Public Sector further and constant investment in Education and Lifelong learning,  Our schools and colleges are currently training youth for 20th century jobs and employment which no longer exists in the 21st century
The maritime is a strong passion, here as an Island, I would like to maximise investment here to leverage our marine resources.

Like any service organisations, the public service needs constantan reinvention, development and investment - for this those who deliver and achieve should be well rewarded.

Candidate Name: Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

If I am elected to Seanad Eireann I would be happy to examine all of the issues that arise from the Emergency legislation that led to the significant  reduction of public service pay and having regard to very different economic climate that now prevails I will advocate a fair restoration of remuneration in the context of the sacrifices that have been made by our public servants during the crises.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

I believe that the State has a moral obligation to invest in public services and it should be a priority of Government to do so. There was, unfortunately, a necessary  sharp reduction in investment in the Irish public services throughout the last 7 years of collapse in public expenditure to maintain the public sector’s ability to deliver vital  public sector . It is now vital that a strategic rebuilding and strengthening of our capacity to meet the urgent needs of our citizens and the needs to provide an infrastructure to support our economic growth. I will strongly advocate for such vital investment to maintain and deepen our public sector capacity to forge a reversal of poverty, decline in educational resources, provision of adequate investment  in social  housing and  supports necessary for societal cohesion.

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Having been a Primary School Teacher in my early career I believe in the importance of remunerating our teachers and lecturers appropriately so that our children and young people have committed and excellent people guiding and mentoring them for the development of a better society for everyone. I also support fair and just pay for all our public and civil servants, including An Gardaí who we need to ensure the safety of society and our nurses and doctors who take care of the most vulnerable in our society. If our public and civil servants are not paid a fair and just salary the brightest and best people will not be attracted to these most important professions in our society. I believe in a strong, well resourced and properly trained civil service and I would use the platform of Seanad Eireann ,if elected, to support this as well as other issues such as support for women in Irish society with regard to equal pay, equal opportunities fro both mothers and fathers with regard to maternal and paternal leave etc.

For further information on my commitment to implementing the necessary reforms for a more representative and effecitve Seandad and my three main pillars of Equality, Mental Health and Education please go to my website

Candidate name: William Priestly

  • What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

As a public servant myself, I am acutely aware of the effect cuts to salaries have had on both individuals and families. For me, the priority is to ensure that the restoration of public servants' pay is twinned with policies that ensure an affordable cost of living for the average worker. This could be achieved through stricter rent controls, additional support for first time buyers and the enforcement of corporation tax payment (currently many multi-nationals pay less than 5%, against the stated 12.5%).

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

I have spent over ten years working in some of the country's most marginlised communities. I currently direct a youth service in one of the four Limerick Regeneration Areas. My priorities for investment in public services would focus on a holistic approach to address poverty, including education, social care, policing and health. The Regeneration process in Limerick has been over €120m spent on physical regeneration but less €20m spent on social regeneration. It is policies like this that I will campaign to change. 

  • Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

I would ask PSEU members for their vote based on a three factors. Firstly, having worked with at risk young people at primary, secondary and third level, I have the first hand experience and expertise to made a difference in the area of social policy. Secondly, innovation in education and youth employment has been central to my career and now, more than ever, the Seanad needs innovative members to ensure that it remains relevant.  Thirdly, the Seanad was originally meant to give a voice to those outside the political system. Having worked as a grassroots level all my career, I would be ideally suited to this role. For more please see my website

Candidate Name: Kieran Rose

  •  What will you do to restore the cuts to Public Servants’ pay?

 I would support the restoration of pay for those in the low and middle income bracket who have been most hit by the cuts and actively campaign for workers so that they benefit from an increase.

  • What are your priorities for investment in public services?

Social housing would be my one of my main priorities along with education, public transport and health. Investment in our public libraries and improving the public spaces is also essential. All of these are required for a quality of life and ability to work. Their development also benefits all in the community and all workers as opposed to a limited few. I will fight to have rapid and constructive legislation on these issues and work cross party to bring about improvements and investment.

  • 3.       Why should members of the PSEU vote for you?

Because I am a trade unionist with a strong track record as an activist in Cork and Dublin with my Union IMPACT (previously LGPSU) and on the Cork Council of Trade Unions and the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. I instigated the ground breaking ICTU "Lesbian and Gay Rights in the Workplace; Guidelines for Negotiators" (1988).

As a Senator I would highlight the plight of precarious workers, those of contracts and in low paid employment. As a human rights campaigner I see the rights of workers, including the right to collective representation, as being fundamental. 

I will actively support and fight for the implementation of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Charter for Fair Conditions at Work.

I was one of those who successfully proposed that public bodies have a new statutory duty to have regards to human rights and equality in the carrying out of their functions this includes both the delivery of services and in terms of their employees. As Senator I would push for proper implementation of this new positive duty.

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