There have been some very dramatic events unfolding in Ireland over the last few weeks so we thought that it would be interesting to hear from someone in the eye of the storm.
Dominic Hannigan is an Irish Senator who has been chosen as the Labour Party candidate for the constituency of Meath East, a constituency that saw some of the most dramatic changes of the Celtic Tiger period of Irish history, in the forthcoming general election. Dominic is spokesperson for Labour in the Seanad Éireann on Commuter issues, Environment, Local Government, Foreign affairs and Defence for. Dominc has very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the Plaid Wrecsam blog.
The Irish Government has introduced wide ranging cuts in response to the financial crisis, what have been the day to day affects on the people of East Meath?
People on the breadline are finding it more difficult to get by. Cuts to social welfare, to a widow’s pension, to a carer’s allowance, will directly reduce the standard of living for many people. Also, the money they get goes directly into the local economy in East Meath – it’s not saved away. So, any reduction has a knock-on impact on local shops and services.
The Government accepted even more drastic cuts as part of the pre conditions for the IMF intervention in the Irish nations affairs as a socialist what proposals do you have to alleviate the adverse effects of these cuts?
We would renegotiate the deal with a view to minimising the impact.
What would the Irish Labour Party have done differently to Fianna Fail if it had been in power in 2008?
The big thing ….we would not have given the bank guarantee, which we believe was a terrible decision. We were the only party who saw the dangers. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Sinn Fein etc. all voted for it.
What regulatory reform in the Irish financial services sector would you be advocating if elected to the next Dail?
See our manifesto next month.
You are known for your interest in Irish language education, what lessons do you think Ireland and Wales can learn from each other in relation to this area?
The benefit of a tv station – it’s been a tremendous success here and is helping to improve every day use and understanding of the language.
Also, Irish language schools have also been a wonderful development. It’s great that so many kids have access to a gaelscoil close to their homes.
In the UK we are facing a year of political reform with referendums on devolution and the AV system, what reforms, in the coming years, of the Irish political system do you feel are necessary?
I expect that we will see a fundamental review of the way our system operates, including serious proposals in relation to our bi-cameral system. I have recently spoken about my view that the time has come for a referendum to be held on the abolition of our Upper House. I would imagine that this, and other proposals could very well be in our manifesto next month