Before the budget is decided I think all TDs should vote for a new Finance Minister and whoever collects the most votes would reveal the budget, with all TDs agreeing in advance to vote it through. This would be very dramatic of course and there would be plenty of backstabbing and false promises but it would make great TV, scintillating economics could be the new Love Island.
Ending the whip system would also do away with those nasty party falls outs, the likes of which has Peadar Toibin sitting at home fantasizing about riding a white horse through the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis while waving an Aontu banner.
It would also reduce the likelihood of repeating the scourge of Confidence and Supply #SecretCoalition as backbenchers would be open to vote for and against bills based on their own beliefs.
Luckily the 2020 election has four young candidates who are very opinionated and likely to make a big difference in Irish politics if they get elected. They all wear rosettes but as the old saying goes you can either trap Joan Burton in a car or join a party and try making a real difference.
The candidates also represent an Ireland at the crossroads, there was a time when the most educated candidates were school teachers, but we’re now lucky enough to have graduates who bring experience from different backgrounds to the election table. By voting for people with strong beliefs and an education that backs them up, you are more likely to get someone with the expertise to deliver better solutions, when compared to voting for someone with political connections who dropped out of college but somehow goes on to hold a ministerial position for example.
Saoirse McHugh (Greens)
Saoirse is part of a savvy millennial generation that are concerned about geopolitics, the environment, and individual rights. She has the potential to be Ireland's AOC, willing to take on a system that only works for the 1%. Well educated, she has a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from UCD and a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.
SMH first appeared on our TV screens running for the European Elections, and only narrowly lost out on a seat due to some clever green-washing by FG, which resulted in pop up candidate Maria Walsh taking her crown to Brussels. Although SMH picked up plenty of votes there is no guarantee she will land a seat in the Dail. General Elections in Ireland tend to be far more tribal than the EU elections, which people take less seriously for various reasons. However with Enda Kenny busy advising venture funds there are votes up for grabs in Mayo and there is a good chance the feisty Achill Island native will get elected.
Niall O’Tuathail (Social Democrats)
Health reformist Niall O’Tuathail spent years working to improve the NHS in England before returning to the hipster capital of Ireland to start his own digital company called Mobile Clipboard in 2014.
However Niall is no stranger to politics; he successfully ran Stephen Donnelly’s canvassing campaign in 2011 and also ran David Hall’s election bid in the Dublin West by-election in 2014. More recently he ran the Yes to Equality campaign in Galway.
Niall is another example of a young candidate who can make a real difference; he has a degree from Trinity and arguably has more real world experience than any of our sitting TDs. He’s worked all over the world building infrastructure and designing technological solutions for the health sector. Niall is looking for votes to put an end to the “stale cartel” of FF/FG that has lead to years political stagnation in this country.
Rob O’Donnell (Greens)
23 year old Rob O’Donnell says he’s frustrated by the pace of change and wants to put an end to young people leaving Tipperary, emigration has devastated small clubs up and down the county with lads leaving for jobs in Dublin and Cork before they even make the senior team.
Rob is not your typical candidate and probably the only candidate you’ll find canvassing on Tinder, but then again there is some value in looking for votes somewhere Mattie McGrath is less likely to find them. Rob is aware that Tipperary votes independent but he wants to convert some of the old diesel into green energy and hopes that a party platform and some fresh ideas can get him elected. Rob is looking for “a real plan for rural regeneration” and wants more resources invested in mental health.
If you’re voting in Tipperary and you match change Rob O’Donnell might be worth a swipe.
Holly Cairns (Social Democrats)
As party spokesperson for Agriculture Holly has big boots to fill in the Social Democrats. Her bio reads “Farmer, Feminist, wannabe Erin Brokovich”.
Holly runs a podcast called “Inside The Chamber” where she keeps her constituents up-to-date on her life as a councillor, having won the final seat in the Bantry local elections by one single vote, making her the only Social Dem councillor in the country.
Much like our other young candidates Holly is canvassing for change; running on the mantra that “We need policies for the next generation and not just for the next election”. Holly has a first class Masters Degree in Organic Horticulture from UCC and a passion for the environment, which is the kind of combination you need in a conservative three seat constituency that was topped by pro-life TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony in 2016. Cork South West also elected Michael Collins who got into some trouble recently for his Ireland for the Irish rhetoric. The third seat is held by former school teacher Jim Daly who wants the government to control social media, he wants anyone using Twitter to have a government issued ID so they can be easily identified #TrollHunter.
In a way it’s a constituency primed for change and a fresh face representing climate action might be the very thing Cork South West has been looking for. Holly wants a future for Irish farmers and wants more investment to allow farmers transition to producing more sustainable agri-products.