General Election Candidate: Fiona Ryan
This Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate cares about water charges and the repeal of the 8th amendment
This is one in a series of profiles on young General Election candidates for 2016. If you are a candidate and would like to take part, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Name: Fiona Ryan
- Constituency: Cork South Central
- Party: Anti-Austerity Alliance
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself
I am a 27 year old working class, LGBT, pro-choice campaigner and committed socialist activist in Cork.
If elected, what will your priorities be?
My initial priority would be to call for the end of the hated water charges. The inspiring boycott has shown that ordinary people are willing to fight the austerity policies of the establishment parties and I will stand alongside them.
I would call for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment, which endangers women's lives and health on a daily basis, as a matter of utmost urgency.
The cost of living and rent crisis continues to spiral and I would call for urgent rent control legislation, which also allows for the reversal of the recent opportunistic rent hikes.
What do you think are the issues that most affect young people in Ireland today?
The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in our society continues to grow still, even now in a time of supposed "recovery".
I, like many other young people, have seen our generation forced to emigrate as a result of the government austerity agenda, who have created an Ireland where young people are given three options: Accept low paid, precarious, zero hour contract work, emigrate or enter into free labour schemes like Jobbridge.
Until we tackle the escalating cost of living crisis, provide decent wages for all and introduce urgent rent control legislation, Ireland will continue to be no country for the old nor the young.
The ongoing rise in the cost of education, particularly third level education, needs to be tackled urgently. Education should not depend on your family's wealth, and should be a right.
Women every year are forced to leave Ireland to seek safe abortion services. While women who can afford the cost of travel may do so, those who cannot, which so often are young women due to the unforgiving economic climate against the younger generations, face criminalisation and prosecution if they access abortion services online. Separate Church and State and Repeal the 8th!
If elected, what will you do about these issues? (200 words or less)
I would actively work to continue to encourage and build the boycott the water charges while calling on whatever government may be in place to abolish them entirely.
I will campaign and put forward urgent rent control legislation alongside my AAA-PBP colleagues as well as argue for a real and substantial social housing program.
I will demand a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment and also to end the discriminatory exemptions that still remain in place for non-secular schools and hospitals towards atheist and minority religion staff in church run institutions.
While the historic marriage equality referendum proved that society has progressed and evolved far past what the establishment parties are willing to allow, we still have remaining discriminatory barriers that affect LGBT people everyday, such as the blood donation ban for LGBT men.
I will follow in the example set by Paul Murphy, Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and other AAA elected reps by using my platform to represent the interests of workers, the poor and oppressed people in society.
What message have you for young voters?
There are many young first time voters who will have little memory of pre-recession Ireland, thinking that dole queues and mass emigration are the norm. However, inequality is not inevitable. They should hit out at the austerity parties by the ballot but crucially by becoming politically active not just once every five years, but by assisting the building of a movement led by young people to effect real change in society.