*Cllr Roisin Garvey. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Clare’s only elected Green Party representative Roisin Garvey will forever remember 2019 as the year of her political breakthrough but less than twelve months on she’s bidding for higher office.
Roisin who became the first member of the party elected to Clare County Council since Brian Meaney has declared her intention to contest the General Election. She had previously been selected as a party candidate in 2016 but withdrew due to family commitments as her son Corrán was sitting the Leaving Certificate, Fergal Smith came forward as her replacement polling 1,700 first preference votes.
In May, she was the final candidate elected in the Ennistymon local electoral area with 1,302 first preference votes. The Inagh woman currently sits on the Physical Development SPC as well as the Health Forum West since taking her place on the County Council. Her father, Flan was an elected representative on the local authority for twenty four years.
Earlier this month, Roisin confirmed her candidacy in an interview on Clare FM’s Morning Focus. “There is a climate emergency, one of the things I noticed when I was campaigning for the locals was every farmer agreed with me or they brought it up themselves, there was a comfort talking to me because I was with the Greens and they knew I would get it. We have a huge issue, there is a lot of burying our head in the sand about climate, Clare is going to be very vulnerable, a lot of the bigger parties are giving lip service on climate change.
“Richard Bruton made the announcement that he is going to get individuals to pay 30c more for their coffee, there is no big solutions like investing in public transport, transport is one of our biggest CO2 emissions yet there is no plans for any public transport improvements, money is going into roads when we need to get away from that ideology, we have huge air pollutions in towns like Ennis. We need to really rethink what we’re doing, a quarter of our children are obese, our old people are feeling more lonely and isolated they are living longer. We really need to look at our systems and how we’re doing things, it’s not serving the young or the old”.
On health care, Cllr Garvey felt “prevention as the cure” needs to be the first step as she repeated her call for the establishment of a Greenway in Clare. “It seems to me that we do have a problem in attracting quality people who deal with diabetes in Limerick. With the A&E we all know the horror stories, I spent three nights on a trolley there myself, absolutely appalling. I’m not going to claim to be an expert on this, if I get elected I will be the one to push and engage with the experts. In an ideal world, I’d bring back the matron system where the matron was in charge”.
During the canvass for the local election, she noticed “half of the houses were empty” and outlined that housing was another key issue that needed to be tackled. For any possible Green changes to be enforced, Roisin felt they would need to elected between ten to twenty TDs to possess “a strong mandate” as a coalition partner. “I think I’ve a good chance, I think we need a new voice. We’ve had four men, nothing against them but maybe it’s time for change, the system isn’t suiting any of us”.