“BEING a TD is being somebody who represents on a national level. Nobody wants a Healy-Rae in their community who doesn’t represent the area on a national scale. Many people believe that if you don’t succeed in one election, that you just drop off. The opposite is true, I believe in building on what you got the first time.”
Una Dunphy, who achieved 1,646 first preference votes in the 2016 general election, hit out against Matt Shanahan and Bernadette Phillips, for being “single-issue candidates” and posed the questions “How effective are independent candidates?” who she said fail to be in a position to exact real change.
Una, who lives in Tramore, hopes that she can “be a voice for the community and not more of the same” in next month’s election. The disconnect, she said, between the current government and the people of Ireland is felt in controversial legislative decisions such as cutting social welfare rates for younger people. “This shows a government so out of touch that they believe all parents are in a position to take financial care of their children. “
Calling for a whistle-blowers forum and a national emergency to be declared on housing, Una’s election flyer states that after 17 years, she was dismissed from her job as a teacher with Waterford and Wexford ETB. Taking a stand, she says, against “little boards, with all the same kind of people on them calls for answerability in public office and encourages whistle-blowers to come forward.”
With a 10-12 strong campaign team, she is notably at a disadvantage on how much ground she can cover in a mere three weeks – which she feels is a deliberate government tactic to disregard the smaller candidates. Una referenced the UK system of public housing where housing is seen as a human right. “If in power, we would push for public housing on public land and provide an economically broader range of people living in an area.”
She plans to push for a public road system as a priority to link rural areas such as Faithlegg with the mainstream commercial hubs, in an aim to reduce road users and to increase inclusion. “This is not Una Dunphy promising a fast turn-around of a road network,” she said, “but we need to think of the City as being a liveable city and plans like transitioning all transport to electric cars will not give us what we need. Those plans are only feeding the pockets of the industry.”
When asked about her stance on the contentious issue of carbon tax, she said, “We fully support carbon taxation, but only if the big businesses are the first ones who are paying. We believe it is unfair to ask everyone to pay the same tax.”
Such priorities will resonate with a younger voting body certainly, but arguably, “there is a very negative slant with regard to political elections for young people. They see men in suits and they disengage.” A younger vote is achievable she feels through bringing education to the South East, in the form of a University. Certainly, People Before Profit have a vocal candidate in Una Dunphy and, while representing a smaller party, her priorities are by no means smaller.