I have been active in politics for over 20-years and in that time I have been invited to join a variety of political parties; Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, The Green Party and most recently the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
The offers made to me by each of these parties varied in intensity and generosity, I'll begin with the first offer I was made.
In 2000 I was Vice-Chair and PRO of the Irish National Congress (INC), a constitutional lobby group promoting the ideals of “freedom, unity and peace”. Mary Lou McDonald (then a member of Fianna Fáil) was the INC’s Chairperson. Mary Lou and I were invited to attend a meeting with Party Officials to try and dissuade the INC from holding a protest against the civic endorsement of Orange Order sectarianism by Dublin City Council. It was after this meeting that Mary Lou and I were contacted separately and invited to join Sinn Féin. I was offered £35,000 (we still had the punt) per annum to become a Sinn Féin activist and organiser in Limerick City.
I was a candidate in the 2007 General Elections. At the count centre in Limerick Race track I was approached by three Fine Gael City Councillors and asked if I would like to be on the Council now rather than having to take my chances in the 2009 Local Elections. I was informed that one of their party members on the Council was running for the Senate and that if successful would have to vacate their seat on the Council and that I would be co-opted on to the Council if I joined Fine Gael within the week.
The Green Party:
After the 2007 General Elections I was contacted by the Green Party candidate and asked to meet up for a chat. I invited him and his fiancée to dinner at my house; the Green Party were poised to form a coalition government with Fianna Fáil and I was hoping to make new connections and be in a position to lobby on behalf of my community regarding “regeneration” and the developers-led agenda that was emerging. I was asked to join the Green Party and be their candidate in the Limerick City South electoral area in the 2009 Local Elections. It was also inferred that my estate could be a pilot area for a home insulation scheme that would be introduced by the Green Party when in government.
Anti- Austerity Alliance:
On 25th of April 2014 I was contacted by a prominent member of the Ant-Austerity Alliance (AAA) and the Socialist Party. I was asked if I was running in the local elections and would I consider being a candidate for the AAA (the other AAA candidate for Limerick City West had dropped out for some reason) and if not would I help them canvass. I explained that I believed that Local Elections should be focused on local issues and while I was actively opposed to water charges and the property tax there was practically nothing that could be done on the Council about these issues.
Party politics has corrupted our democracy and this election seems to be driven more by personalities than it is by policies with the “opposition” parties seeking to exploit the people’s anger for their own gain. I believe that the people should determine policy, not the parties. I do not serve a political party and I never will. I have signed The Peoples Contract and if elected by the people I will serve the people.