In second, third, and fourth place were Josepha Madigan (FG), Catherine Martin (GP) and Alan Shatter (FG). Unfortunately for Alan it’s a three seat constituency.
It would be a difficult place to come win a seat, Fianna Fail are trying to win two. Into that mix comes Patrick Noonan who seems to have a policy for everyone; but that’s what makes him interesting.
His website bio opens with a quote from Patrick Kavanagh, something that reflects the self confidence of someone you could only find in this part of the world, but perhaps you need to have strong self-belief if you want to make a difference.
“Did a man like Charlie ever notice the butterflies? That man was wise in the ways of the world. But wasn’t it easy been wise in that small way. The meanest minds became the great ones of the world’s wisdom because the really fine minds saw that such success wasn’t worthwhile. Politicians, businessmen and all that breed could be beaten blind at their own game if the good men tried. He was quite sure of that”.
But Patrick’s middle class aspirations don’t end there; a vote for Noonan is a vote for Ireland’s first planetarium, public saunas, polygamy, subsidised gym membership, and an end to surprise cinema ads.
He’s also gone right after that millennial vote with a campaign for universal basic income, lowering the voting age to 16, and wants to offer Julian Assange asylum.
With over 70 policies on the website he has a more readily available election manifesto than Fianna Fail and it’s not all notions in the wind either. Some good ideas that you might not hear others talk about include introducing Public Car Insurance, building an All Ireland Hiking Trail Network, and introducing a Ministry of Serendipity. Ok this last one just shows that he’s got Cadburys in his pocket, the amount of lobbying going on these days is ridiculous. The following is all from his site, just skip to the Ministry of Serendipity if in doubt about where this is going.
Public Car Insurance
Car insurance in Ireland is one of the highest in the EU. For years the government has tried to get the insurance companies to reduce their costs. Sadly, the car insurance incentives are still geared towards fleecing the average consumer. You can’t blame the insurance companies for this, they are bound by their shareholders and doing what any amoral corporate entity would do. As such, government policy is required to realign the incentives of the industry. A public insurance option would be the best way to achieve this. Such models already exist in some provinces in Canada. Essentially, since car insurance is legally mandated for consumers the usual free-market economics can’t work as standard. The public insurance option would operate like a normal car insurance company but would be backed by the Irish government and run on a not-for-profit model. Citizens would still need to pay for insurance but since it would just need to break-even the premiums would be lower. The ultimate aim is to provide a better service for a cheaper price. This would then properly incentivise the private car insurance companies to either adapt or die.
An All Ireland Hiking Trail Network
Ireland is one of the world’s most beautiful countries and boasts some of the most hospitable people to boot. Whilst we do have many great hiking trails scattered across Ireland (The Wicklow Way starting right here in Rathdown) there isn’t a reliable infrastructure in place to make it a truly attractive place for hiking.
As such we need to do three things:
- Invest in a series of connected way-marked hiking trails that run through all 32 counties in Ireland
- Create a network of simple huts and rain barrels (for drinking water) every 10/20km
- Introduce right to roam and camp laws like they have in Scotland and Sweden e.g. allow anyone to pitch a tent for a night so long as they’re 500m from a road, house etc.
Ireland is a perfect location for such a trail because:
- We’re damn beautiful
- We’re damn friendly
- We speak English
- We have a temperate climate (can hike all year round)
- We don’t have any dangerous animals (such as bears, snakes)
- We have a large diaspora who want to explore our country
Ministry of Serendipity
A lean rag-tag team of approx 5 people with a small budget of approx €10 million with the mission to create and propagate instances of serendipitous joy and happiness across the country. Whilst most government ministries have clear briefs and upfront projects, the purpose of the Ministry of Serendipity is to create random joy for Irish citizens.
We don’t know what they could do but if you happen upon it, you’ll smile.
This would be rolled out incrementally and the concept validated on its outcomes. If after a year or two, people didn’t feel it was beneficial on the whole then it would be scrapped.