1. Paul has achieved politically

Unlike most candidates, Paul Gogarty can
claim a number of real, verifiable achievements

His biggest is in the area of Education. Paul was Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills from 2007-2010. And, when ever other area was suffering from massive cutbacks, Paul personally ensured that investment in Education was protected.

“I would like to thank Paul Gogarty for his work in protecting class sizes” – former ASTI (teaching union) General Secretary John White

This stopped class sizes being cut, SNA numbers being reduced and the reintroduction of third level tuition fees. Where Paul had real influence, he used it. “Investment in education and quality childcare, particularly in the early years, is important for our children’s personal development, for our well-being as a society and for our economic well-being. Long-term research such as the High-Scope Perry Pre-school study showed that for every €1 invested in high quality early education, there was a €17 return,” he says.

Paul helped to stop housing being built along the sensitive Liffey Valley amenity lands (see  local issues) and has also been an outspoken critic of political cronyism and corruption. He was the only politician to seek an investigation by An Garda Síochána into Senator Ivor Callely’s phone expense claims, which ultimately led to a a prison sentence.

Other notable issues raised as a TD in the Dáil and elsewhere include a strong and uncompromising stance on the issue of abuse in residential institutions, the highlighting of lapses in the healthcare service, immoral increases in TDs’ pay and expenses over pensioners and social welfare recipients, access to land for walkers, gas safety issues, public transport policy and the need for a nationwide audit of sports facilities.

2. Paul is part of a strong alliance of Independents locally and nationally

Paul with other Independent Alliance election candidates at a press conference last
Paul with other Independent Alliance election candidates at a press conference last

To be more than just a mé-féin, parish pump Independent, you need to have allies you work well with. Paul has found these colleagues both locally and nationally.

The “Independent Alliance” is a group of TDs, Senators and Councillors who have signed up to a common social charter and want to radically reform politics to increase democratic input. In the Dáil this group has already acted as a cohesive unit and the model for supporting or participating in a government has worked successfully in the Australian parliament.

Paul is also a founder member of the Independent “Community Alliance” on South Dublin County Council, which includes seven Independents and one Green councillor as part of the wider “Progressive Alliance” that sets the agenda on budgetary and other matters. The team includes local colleagues Cllr Guss O’Connell and Cllr Liona O’Toole, and fellow Independent Dáil candidates Francis Timmons (also running in Dublin Mid West) and Deirdre O’Donovan (Dublin South West). Paul has worked closely with his Community Alliance colleagues and together the group has achieved far more than they could have as individuals.

Paul with John Halligan TD and SDCC colleague Cllr Deirdre O’Donovan;
Paul with John Halligan TD and SDCC colleague Cllr Deirdre O’Donovan;

3. Paul consults with people

Being community-minded, Paul has always updated and consulted with constituents

Local examples include the recent Development Plan leaflet with Francis Timmons, the incinerator campaign in 2008 and bins. A wider example is the Irish Water debacle, where Paul Gogarty tabled a motion calling for a referendum on all aspects of water services, including privatisation, charges and fluoridation. “I believe the people need to be consulted directly and listened to on major decisions like this that affect their lives,” he said. “Elected representatives need to lead, but first they need to listen.”

Nationally, as part of a strong alliance of Independent TDs, Paul wants to push for greater levels of participatory democracy, through indicative referenda and national forums like the Constitutional Convention, ones that are actually listened to, with their key recommendations acted on.

4. Paul is community-focused

When first elected as a TD in 2002, Paul Gogarty resigned his Council seat in opposition to the dual mandate (going without the €12k sweetener paid to others when it was abolished later). While TDs can no longer remain Councillors, they still have a statutory link with local authorities and can notify officials directly on local issues. Acknowledging his primary role as a TD will be as a legislator, Paul will raise local issues brought directly to his attention and will also work with Independent “Community Alliance” colleagues on the Council so that he can input on strategic issues such as the final Development Plan process and the upcoming Clonburris Strategic Development Zone review. At the same time, if elected, Paul will facilitate his local colleagues in highlighting their issues at national level through parliamentary questions and other processes.

If elected to the Dáil, Paul intends to facilitate public consultation to help select who is co-opted into the vacant Council seat. He also intends to set up a consultation group within the constituency, open to all residents not members of a political party, so as to allow maximum participation in the democratic process for all.

Kennelsfort road R148 junction local issues
“As politicians line up to make promises based on a rosy financial future, it is important to remember the next economic shock could be just around the corner” – Sunday Business Post

5. Paul makes no false promises

Some of what a TD can achieve is to highlight an issue that needs highlighting or to persist on a neglected matter of public interest. Sometimes it is to scrutinize Government legislation, at other times it is to contribute to the formation of that legislation. Paul Gogarty was in a right place at the right time to directly influence education policy and to stop housing on the scenic Liffey Valley amenity area. However in many other cases it will be the cumulative effect of one voice along with those of many others.

Influence comes a) through force of argument, b) public  interest and support and c)  because your vote is required to keep a Government in office. If the support of a group of TDs is required for the latter, Paul is in a great position as part of the Independent Alliance to input directly. If a balance of power situation does not exist, all issues will be raised strongly from the opposition benches. “I have many objectives, as ever, but will make no promises,” says Paul.

6. Paul is green-minded

Paul Gogarty’s focus is firmly directed at areas most people would prioritise, like creating new jobs, promoting enterprise, rewarding hard work, dealing with the housing  crisis, protecting our vulnerable,  tackling crime and its causes, and investing efficiently in  education, health, sport, arts and community facilities. However as you would expect from someone in who was in the Green Party for 22 years, he is also very strong on green issues, recognising the need to protect our environment and heritage, to ensure good planning, to develop public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure, to minimise and deal with the very real impact of climate change and to ensure we have our own renewable energy security in the future. These should save us money rather than cost us money in the long run.

Like many people Paul opposes the current Irish Water quango and the water charges, which should be from general taxation. However he supports revenue-neutral measures to stop treated water being wasted, eg a very generous free allowance, with penalties for (non-leak) water wastage combined with grants for rainwater collection systems and toilet flush reducers.

Paul tabled a motion seeking a referendum on all aspects of water services, including water charges, privatisation and fluoridation

7. Paul has a track record second to none on local issues in Dublin Mid West (more detail in local canvassing brochures).

Paul has an outstanding track record on local issues in Brittas, Clondalkin, Lucan, Newcastle, Rathcoole and Saggart. These are outlined in more detail in the Local Issues section on this website as well as in his detailed 16-page election brochures. He is particularly strong on planning issues, where he has stood up for our communities on dodgy and sometimes corrupt rezonings, stopping housing in some cases and helping to get additional facilities alongside housing in others. With a national housing crisis and increasing numbers facing homelessness, he strongly supports tackling the problem but not at the expense of quality building and properly planned communities.

Paul has worked with residents’ associations and individual residents on thousands of local issues, ranging from the Rathcoole Incinerator, the Clondalkin Round Tower project and Crooksling Nursing Home in Saggart. Some were successful, some are ongoing and are listed in local newsletters.

Clondalkin Swimming Pool
Clondalkin Swimming Pool
FACT: No candidate has done more work on the Lucan Swimming Pool project, over the last two years, or over the last 10 years, than Paul

Lucan Swimming Pool

Paul has been actively involved in pushing for a swimming pool for many years and has a stronger and longer track record on this than any other elected representative.

Paul specified the campaign for a pool as one of his key objectives when running for election to the Council in 2014. And since his re-election there has been renewed emphasis on the pool project. Working with colleagues he managed to achieve €400,000 funding for the design of the pool and got the entire Council side of the project(costing approximately €5.8 million) budgeted for in the rolling three year capital programme. Paul has actively supported the independent Lucan Swimming Pool Campaign which has helped keep the issue high on the agenda with politicians and the Council’s Chief Executive and this combined pressure helped secure the temporary opening of the nationalswimming pool programme which allowed the Council to apply for an additional €3.8 million through this channel.

The project is not 100 per cent guaranteed yet, but it is now looking more certain than it has done in 10 years.

Schools issues

Paul has a fantastic track record on education nationally and has also been responsive locally.

He is not claiming credit for “delivering” any projects but has worked alongside parents, staff and other elected reps to push for much needed school facilities throughout the constituency.

Adamstown SDZ

Paul fought hard alongside the “Deliver it Right” campaign to ensure that Adamstown would be developed in a sustainable way with facilities and infrastructure provided alongside the phased delivery of housing.

He played an integral role in identifying and providing new school sites on the lands and is directly responsible for one extra school being in the plan. Most recently he was the only elected rep to appeal the revised Plan to An Bord Pleanala and has done more than any other candidate on the promised sports and community hall.

Crime and antisocial behaviour

Paul has constantly pushed for additional resources for our Gardaí and was instrumental in securing more mountain bike Garda units in the constituency.

The Scenic Liffey Valley

His work protecting the Liffey Valley is well known, from his 1998 suggesting of the St Edmundsbury referendum which stopped a housing proposal going ahead then, to a revised plan in 2008 which he had a direct role in halting. He continues to work on the ultimate goal of a regional park which will require State intervention.

Paul also has an unrivalled record on protecting the scenic Liffey Valley from housing
Paul also has an unrivalled record on protecting the scenic Liffey Valley from housing

8. Paul sees TDs as legislators

As a Councillor and a TD Paul Gogarty has built up a great record on local issues. TDs can and should deal with local matters, either through the Dáil or via the statutory link that remains for them to liaise with the local Council. Their official role according to the Oireachtas is to “represent their electorate within their constituencies and provide an essential democratic link between constituents”.

That said, Paul Gogarty believes that TDs best serve their constituents as national legislators, seeking to maximise the common good through changes in the law and its implementation.

For example, while Paul did great work on local schools in the constituency, his key objective as a TD remained the education system as a whole.This was shown by his achievement in getting education cuts reversed and the well-received policy document “50 Steps To A Better Education System”. He has raised many other national issues, including TDs’ pay, abuse in institutions, rights of way, mental health, crime prevention, arts and music policy/funding, transport, sports policy and facilities, foreign policy, the banking crisis, political corruption, motor insurance for young drivers, good planning, homelessness and housing.

Paul Gogarty Speaking at the Independent Alliance Launch in January
Paul Gogarty Speaking at the Independent Alliance Launch in January
Paul signing the Independent Alliance charter
Paul signing the Independent Alliance charter

9. Paul wants real reform

The political establishment likes to wheel out mantras about voting for “change” at each election. But yet little has changed, one civil war party with a history of corruption has been replaced by another. The faces are different but the culture is the same. Real reform requires taking power back from the Taoiseach, Cabinet and the Economic Management Council and giving power back to our Dáil and Seanad. TDs are elected to represent yet for decades our parliament has been a rubber stamp democracy.

Independent Alliance TDs holding the balance of power would be able to provide stability by voting for a Taoiseach and agreeing to pass financial and budgetary resolutions, but after that the whip system would not be in place and each piece of legislation would be discussed and voted on its merits. We would oppose cronyism and insider political appointments. We would push for the reform of committees, the Seanad and Local Government and more direct say for the people. This would be representative democracy at its best. Each Independent would be able to vote freely. As the Council experience has shown, genuine debate beats a party whip any day.

10. Paul believes in a fair society

Despite promising to do otherwise (remember “Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way”?), the Fine Gael/Labour coalition dutifully cut spending in line with the Troika’s demands. Because Ireland needed to borrow to fund day to day costs, some would say we had little choice. But there WAS a choice in how cutbacks in spending were applied, and the cuts they implemented targeted the weakest and the most vulnerable. Their actions were described as regressive by a number of social and economic commentators including the ESRI and Social Justice Ireland. And rightly so, as the budgets in 2012, 2013 and 2014 took more than three times as much from the bottom 40 per cent of households than it did from the top 30 per cent!

Be honest. There isn’t a huge pot of money out there. The facts show that despite all the cutbacks, Ireland STILL managed to borrow over €100 billion in the last eight years just to pay for wages, welfare and services. When the current “giveaway” budget was passed, the country was borrowing €2.8 billion.

“He has had a completely disproportionate influence on Government policy” – The Irish Times

The Fiscal Advisory Council said that this year’s budget showed “echoes of mistakes made in the past”. With China undergoing turmoil at present, there is a heightened risk of more global economic shock. So we need to be prudent and not create the climate for another unsustainable Celtic Tiger boom.

As of now, things appear to be gradually improving. If the economic improvement is not just based on temporarily low oil prices and favourable currency exchanges, there should be room for some additional investment in services and a chance for modest relief for those who have disproportionately carried the burden over the lifetime of this Government.  The poor, the vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled, the very young, struggling families, hard-pressed workers are the ones who need to be top of the list. Paul’s   actions on the Council have been geared towards more caring society. If elected to the Dáil, his emphasis will be likewise.

11. Paul is pragmatic

Some politicians believe that simply having principles is the start and end of elected life.  Paul Gogarty believes that being elected is an honour that puts the onus on the representative to try and achieve something tangible with those principles on behalf of the people they represent. Paul is no populist ‘anti-everything’. He can draw a line in the sand, say no and oppose with vigour, but he prefers real solutions to grandstanding.

Political parties and Independents alike have to work with others of different political persuasions to try and progress their objectives. Paul Gogarty has different views from Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, Labour, or Fianna Fáil, but at different stages he has worked   constructively with all these parties to achieve agreed aims and has also often supported motions by the AAA and People Before Profit.

Most recently Paul is part of the “Progressive Alliance” of Independents, SF and Labour on South Dublin County Council. “Some say they will never coalesce with this group or that, but I believe the merits of each policy proposal are more important than blindly adhering to a position for the sake of ideology,” says Paul.

12. Paul shows leadership

Even the most consultative and open politicians should not be afraid to take a stand. Sometimes you have to do what you believe to be the right thing for your community rather than what you think might win you votes. Paul Gogarty has shown time and time again that he is not afraid to show leadership. Most recently on the Council, for example, he was the only Councillor to vote against reducing the Local Property Tax.

At the time he said: “I do not agree with the current property tax. A site valuation tax that targets undeveloped land would be far better. So I respect those few politicians who voted to reduce by the maximum 15% because they disagreed with it on principle, rather than as a cynical exercise. However, my role as an elected rep is to maximise and ensure value for the money our Council gets to spend on essential services. Because the central Government has reduced funding to local Government by an amount similar to the LPT, we are in effect acting as tax collectors, but with no extra money for services. By reducing the LPT by 15% we are cutting off a much needed €4.5 million for our communities.”