My reasons for supporting the Draft Programme for Government

Today I voted in support of the Programme for Government. There is something particularly satisfying about being involved in our democratic process. Today a ballot on an agreed programme for government by three parties that hold a majority share of the election result, held using our proportional representation system. The result is the majority of people that cast a vote, get a government that is not their number one top choice but a government they can be satisfied with, sometimes the 2 or 3 choice is more palatable with a wider range of the people. The negotiations of the last three months, a gruelling process for parliamentary members chosen, amid a national crisis to work alongside people they had previously been opposed to. Now working together to address issues that they and their various canvassers picked up and listened to during the election campaign. The issues really concerning people were, homelessness, housing, health care, pension age, these were the overriding priorities people were concerned with and most wanted action on. This document heeds those concerns and commits to deal with them. While also addressing concerns around environment, education and proactively promoting a better quality of life for everybody.

Fingal CDC, the local FF organisation met this week via Zoom and together with our elected representative Darragh O’Brien who played an integral part on the negotiating team we thoroughly discussed the document and the process to draw it up. It is clear from reading the document that Fianna Fail core values and aspirations are woven throughout the text particularly on the issues around housing and homelessness you can clearly hear the language of Deputy O’Brien. Where you can see an absolute firm commitment to deliver affordable homes for working people, to launch and implement the affordable purchase scheme on state-owned land.

We have to deal with the hand that’s played, while not everyone’s cup of tea or an ideal arrangement, in some respect in different times my own view would lean a little in a different direction. This is why I love our democratic system, popularism should never be the dominant choice. Flavour of the month is fleeting and when the hard work comes, the guy you thought was a great lad and sure everyone loves him… has now gone running for the trees, or is making a pig's ear of governing or simply ploughs on as if it's going to be ok sipping wine while Rome burns.

Ireland needs a strong government now more than ever due to the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown of our economy and the uncertain global political situation. We need a government that takes on a 5-year plan and deliver on it for all our sakes.

As Fianna Fail members we have to put the county first and we have to get over factions of the past, we need to look forward and be a part of the future. This is a compromise, something with elements for everyone three parties that know a government that can make decisive decisions. This is not a time to see if the unexperienced can be taught the ways of proper governance.

It should never be about winners or losers our democratic system throws up governments in a modern age with a broad spectrum. We only have to look at the situations faced by our neighbours on either side, the UK and the US, look where populism has got them, no stomach for hard decisions and belligerently and ignorantly pushing on while chaos reigns.

It about leadership that involves making difficult decisions and I believe that a FF led Government and with Michael Martin as Taoiseach will demonstrate that we can influence government to be fair and to deliver on everything this document offers.

Climate change is an issue that we face globally. We have a chance to address this challenge by leading a green recovery if done in partnership with different sectors such as enterprise and agriculture, and with our people, we can turn this around.

Lastly, I am pleased to see local initiatives at the forefront and working for local government reform amongst important issues personally to me and to my supporters. I am pleased to see significant state intervention in housing market not seen for generations. Fianna Fáil will deliver affordable housing and public housing on public land.

The initiatives like the Metro Link that included in this programme for government along with the much-needed DART expansion to Balbriggan. There’s a significant increase in funding for Swimming, walking and cycling, which will help deliver the Fingal Way Greenway that will include Skerries to Balbriggan.

Good to see a particular focus on Swimming too and alongside the delivery of the Greenway from Balbriggan to Skerries I will continue to campaign for a spur of Greenway from Ardgillan to Balrothery and for a Public Swimming Pool for North Fingal.

These are my reasons for supporting this Programme for government and I hope the people get behind this because again we can pick ourselves up, roll up our sleeves and begin the work.

Lets do this.

Niall Keady

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