Twenty seven year old, Beckha Doyle maintains Clare County Council needs an injection of pace and fresh blood, she wants to be the one to make the transfusion in Killaloe.
A native of Tuamgraney, Beckha comes from a family of six which she feels exposes her to the many issues affecting people of varying age-groups across East Clare. In July, she was confirmed as a candidate for The Social Democrats in the local elections having completed a formal application and getting the approval of the party’s National Executive.
On what initially attracted her to The Social Democrats, Beckha explained, “I was always interested in social democracy in other countries and how it worked and we didn’t have a party here that played that tune prior to the Social Democrats being set up. It was a lot of different policies, mostly healthcare, housing, education, the separation of church and state from those three so that was something that interested me. I really agreed with the party’s position on the Eighth Amendment so that was something else that drew me in”.
Although she doesn’t come from a political family, Doyle has always been encouraged to be an active citizen by her parents. “I’ve been into politics since I was quite young, I always kept an eye on the party manifesto even though I was too young to vote, my family wouldn’t be political but we were always encouraged to vote the minute we could and to be active citizens. While nobody has engaged in politics at this level before, it was always something we were told to participate in and were aware of its importance. I would have always been following different things in different European parties and what was going on, I always had a real interest in how Scandinavian governments ran their country so the Social Democrats was always a natural draw”.
For the last nine years, the Chairperson of the Social Democrats branch in Clare has volunteered with ForÓige, she is soon to finish on their National Council having served the maximum term for a volunteer and was on the Board of Directors for a year in a voluntary capacity.
On what prompted her to get her name on the ballot paper, Beckha told The Clare Echo, “Truth be told and I’m not going stinging anybody but something that made me want to wrong was that we need a change of pace, we need fresh blood on the Council, there has been a lot of inaction if I’m being honest. There’s stagnation, it’s the same people and the same ideas, the same stuff over and over again and I just think an injection of new ideas from people who haven’t been through the ringer on the Council and on different boards throughout the years to try and see what can be achieved between a mixture of new blood incumbents, I’m not saying to flush out the whole thing, there are some great people in there too but I just think it’s what politics in this country needs”.
Coming into the Killaloe battlefield which will lose a seat, Doyle finds herself competing with three sitting Fianna Fáil and two Fine Gael councillors for five seats. It won’t be easy but she is confident votes are available for an alternative candidate. “There are votes there for sure for a candidate that isn’t the ideal for either of those parties, you’ve seen that candidates who have run in the past with the Labour Party, the Green Party or other smaller parties that the votes are there, it needs somebody that isn’t too far in one direction or the other, we need to be realistic and I would like to think that I and the Social Democrats are fairly realistic, we don’t want the sun, moon and stars because we know that’s not going to happen all at once.
“Being female won’t hurt, there are very few female candidates, I believe I am the only one in my area to be announced and both of the big parties have announced all their candidates. Something that may sway people is the ideas of the party, people may be familiar with the Social Democrats, we’d have a good following in Clare not a big branch yet but we’d have support and there are votes for there for somebody with votes there like my own that aren’t being met with candidates at the moment, being female and relatively young won’t hurt”.
It will be the first time The Social Democrats will contest an election in Clare, on whether they are confident of winning a seat on the Council, a defiant Doyle said “absolutely”. If that person is to be her, the employee of e-commerce company Shopify has listed housing and environmental issues are key part of her agenda. “Housing would be the one that bothers me the most, I would like to see much more development happen around the county. In the term of the last Council very few social houses have been built, there are some being built now but when you think that this Council is outgoing they will be finished in a few months and when you think this has been a problem going on for so long and so little has been done about it and I know it’s not all to do with inaction on the Council, they have to have the funds available but I don’t think it’s been made enough of a priority of and I would like to be the number one priority of Clare County Council for the entire term of the next sitting Council.
“I think a lot of the housing policies in the Council need to be relooked at, I know of a family here there were a number of Council houses that were available and they weren’t given the house because it wasn’t a three bedroom house and they were living in emergency accommodation for a number of months and there weren’t three bedrooms in the house so they wouldn’t give it to this woman because she had a son and a daughter, she was willing to stay in the room with one of them just so they could have their own home and it wasn’t being considered even though that house was sitting there for months and is still sitting there now. With the environment, we need to improve recycling facilities and publicising what can and cannot be recycled because there is so much uncertainty with people. There needs to be a lot of education around recycling and more support for farmers and get the smart farming initiative rolled out across the county,” she concluded.