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‘Timing is right’ as Trudy Leyden goes forward for election

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No leaflets and no posters is the stance taken by Trudy Leyden (IND) as her names appears on the ballot paper for the first time.

FACTFILE –
Occupation – Unemployed, recently finished working as a finance assistant in Dromoland Castle
Family – Two children. One sister and one brother
DOB – 03/08/78
Schools/Colleges Attended – Holy Family NS, Colaiste Muire, Rice College, Ennis Community College, University College Cork
Political CV – Member of Fine Gael from 2011 to 2020. Has never contested an election, Mary Howard’s campaign manager in 2016
Top 3 priorities – Helping people to their rights and entitlements, Shannon Airport and Parental Alienation
Something the electorate don’t know about you – I love French films.

A member of Fine Gael from 2011 to 2020, the leadership of Leo Varadkar influenced Trudy’s decision to leave the party. “I lost interest when Simon Coveney didn’t get the leadership of the party, he is a guy who espouses my values of inclusivity, I’m not seeing that in Leo Varadkar.

“Our measurer as a society is how we treat our worst off, after being at the Clare Leader Forum hustings in the Temple Gate and the home carers morning but then you hear announcements that the FAI are getting bailed out and Connacht Rugby gets €10m just like that when these people having so many dependencies but they don’t get an hour’s help”.

She describes being politicised for the first time while living in France in 2002. “I was living with three people from Algeria at the time, they were very worried about the political climate in France, I had experienced racism in subtle ways but when I walked out of the Metro one morning and all I saw was a sea of guys in camouflage with headbands and Doc Martin boots drinking beer at 9am, I felt the racism myself. I walked through the crowd and used my freedom of expression and said ‘this is BS’, I was kicked by them, had beer cans thrown at my head and was roared it, it was a sobering moment in my life, it politicised me”.

Seven years later, she completed a 20,000 word dissertation on extreme right parties in France and Italy “and how they have ignorant and naive minds to their own cause of hatred”. The Ennis native warned, “I can see a risk of Ireland going down that route and I want to be part of nipping that in the bud, a lot of people in Ireland aren’t aware of how bad it can get, the only way it can be stopped is by nipping that hatred in the bud but also working proactively for diversity and for community education”.

Comments from Galway West TD, Noel Grealish (IND) in the Dáil were described by Trudy as “a watershed in Irish politics”, his remarks were among the main reasons why she entered the race. “It’s something that I had planned to do, I just didn’t know about timing. My kids aren’t babies anymore so the hard part is over then Dr Harty pulled out and I’ve learned over the years that so many things have to kick in place before someone can have a chance, geographically, gender, the current political climate and a lot of those things are fitting in place for me at this time to put myself forward and to think I’ve some chance of getting a good vote”.

For the last General Election, she was campaign manager for Mary Howard (FG). As she makes her own political attempt, Trudy has opted not to utilise leaflets or posters. “It’s the way I will always be. I don’t think there is a need for the amount of posters that are out there then you have the cable ties and leaflets. Everyone seems to sign up for this poster free but it’s not a criminal offence so it can be broken easily but it will happen less and less I feel, more people will make the decision to go paperless and plasticless, it can’t happen overnight it has to be led and filter through to people that maybe it might stand to them not to spend money on stuff”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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