General Election Candidate: TJ Clare
This primary school teacher is concerned about education and employment
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: TJ Clare
- Constiuency: Dublin West
- Party: Independent
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself
I am a 25 year old primary school teacher in Blanchardstown Village. I studied in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and graduated in 2011. I’ve worked in Dublin West since graduating. I am a community and trade union activist within the INTO. I’ve been interested in politics and current affairs from a young age and hope to bring a fresh, young, progressive voice to Dáil Éireann not restricted by old party-politics constraints and business as usual representation.
If elected, what will your priorities be?
I want to prioritise real planned investment for our future. This needs to focus on many areas such as education, real job creation (not exploitative schemes), our health system and in particular the high cost of rent and property. Young people need hope and belief that the political system recognizes them and creates an environment where they can be educated, healthy, have equal access to real jobs with secure hours and a living wage and be able to have adequate accommodation at an affordable price. A plane ticket, a job abroad or unemployment should not be the only option facing our younger generation.
What do you think are the issues that most affect young people in Ireland today?
- Employment – We need to ensure that jobs are created. These jobs must provide a living wage with secure hours and a decent prospect of career progression.
- Education – I am 100% in favour of reducing 3rd level fees. We have seen many past capitulations in this regard. There are many barriers to education, ability to pay bloated fees should not be one of them.
- Affordable housing – In Dublin we have seen rents rise by 25-30% in the past couple of years. We have seen housing stock simply run out. We need caps on rent and increase in publicly owned units at affordable prices for either rent or purchase. We are currently in a situation where even if you have a job, you’re not safe from spiraling accommodation costs.
- Social issues – We need legislators who are proactive and in-tune with social issues, not behind or reactive, as has been the case thus far. I co-organised the Dublin West Yes Equality campaign and was proud of the step our country took for equality. I am in favour of a referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment and when a referendum is called, I will campaign for a Yes Vote.
If elected, what will you do about these issues?
- Employment – I will campaign for a living wage of €11.50 in Dáil Éireann. I want to introduce legislation which will make it a requirement of employers to provide secure decent contracts and hours. I will oppose any further decrease in social welfare for younger people, and would want at least a restoration, with a view to making increase in-line with the cost of living. I will also oppose and aim to see exploitative schemes such as Jobbridge a thing of the past.
- Education – We need third level fees be reduced and I will commit to fighting this charge – an excessive punishment for achieving your potential in second level. Third level also needs to be adequately funded.
- Housing – We need investment in public housing and I will support measures to see this come to fruition. I would also like to introduce legislation which would cap rents and link them to inflation. We cannot allow the market to continue to hike rents while those who depend on the accommodation do not see increases in their wages.
- Social Issues – I support a referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment and will campaign for a Yes vote in that referendum. I will also propose legislative change in order to remove discrimination in school admissions, on the basis of religious beliefs or faith.
What message have you for young voters?
I want to be a break from the business as usual politics of the established parties – which my youth has been dominated by. I will not be restricted by, nor hide behind, a political party. It is vitally important that young people vote – much of our future will be formed by and depend on legislators in Dáil Éireann. Young people should vote – and furthermore young people should vote for young representatives. Many will say youth can mean a lack of experience – I reject this and believe younger people have a different but equally valuable experience.