Derek Byrne – Independent Candidate
Its time for Irish Politicians to be brave.-Derek Byrne, Lunch Time Live, Newstalk 16/01/2020
Some of you already know me from the Irish Times and Newstalk. Some of you don’t know me yet but soon will, I hope. And in the two minutes you need to read this I’m hoping you’ll consider giving me the honour of your number one vote in the 2020 Seanad election.
For over 30 years I’ve campaigned for and supported a range of causes including LGBT rights, gender equality, equivalence in medical care and much more. I’ve always believed that politicians must be brave and not sit on the fence. Since my first campaign as a National Gay Federation youth leader I’ve helped marginalised people and taken a stand on groundbreaking social issues. Now I want to do this in the Seanad where I can make a difference by blending my passion for people power with my skills and experience as an Advocate, Academic, Journalist and Broadcaster.
Take drug policies for example, which I believe are failing young people, families and communities as evidenced in recent tragic headlines. As a young gay activist in 1980s Ireland I stood up to old ways of thinking. Older (55) and wiser but no less passionate, I have qualifications and know-how that help influence change, including an M.Phil in Ethnic and Racial Studies, an M.Sc in Drug and Alcohol Policy, and a Post-graduate Certificate in Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, all from TCD.
I currently lecture in Addiction Studies, specialising in Drug and Alcohol Policy and Drugs and the Media and deliver issue based training in the community.
Top Issues – My Dirty Dozen
Spanning equality, reform, education and the environment are as follows:
- Improve access to life-long learning and adult education opportunities.
- A pragmatic approach to drug and alcohol policy, including possible decriminalisation.
- Overhaul national childcare policy and introduce investment in all Irish children from birth.
- Reintroduce Civil Partnerships as an alternative to marriage for all couples regardless of gender.
- Introduce effective STI and Relationship Skills education from 12 years of age. Remove the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.
- End discrimination against over 50s in the workforce and go further: Promote the participation and benefits of older workers. Introduce flexible retirement options from 65 to 75 to match worker and workplace needs.
- Humanise Irish workplaces by using the law to promote flexible working hours and make workplace bullying and exclusion a thing of the past.
- Remove the need for Gender quotas by addressing the real barriers that block women from entering politics and senior management.
- Reform our political system including Seanad Éireann. For example, I want to reduce a second presidential term from 7 to 4 years.
- Support environmental campaigns such as Save Dublin’s Trees Campaign and the 4ocean.com campaign to remove plastics from our oceans.
- Promote the development of the Irish language through innovative, evidence based methods of learning.
- Ban all blood sports and Greyhound racing in Ireland.
Please join me on this exciting journey and, together, let’s bring humanity and fairness back into Irish politics.