Name: Liam van der Spek
Preferred pronouns: He/Him
Political Party: Labour Party
Candidate’s stance on issues that matter most to young people:
We need urgent and impactful action on climate change. We’re long past time for photo ops and sound bites. There’s no way of doing enough without some inconvenience but it’s also really important the transition to a low carbon economy is a just one. We can’t just be reckless and leave people in old industries behind.
We need a massive state wide approach to building tens of thousands of new social housing units, temporary rent controls, and redirecting millions wasted on HAP payments into landlords pockets and spend it on new houses that benefit tenants instead. We cannot blindly trust in market forces alone anymore. We also need to get less fussy about where developments are built. Affordable housing developments benefit all strands of society from businesses to students.
Mental Health Services
We need investment in many areas of healthcare, and mental health is one of those. We need to end the crisis of recruitment and retention in the HSE and ensure doctors posts are filled to end outrageously long waiting lists for people who need them. GPs should receive special training on mental health issues. Free counselling in Primary Care service should be extended to 16-25 year olds.
Education Funding, including Third-level Fees
We should reduce education inequality at all levels of education. We should abolish so called voluntary contributions in schools right away and implement a road map to reduce third levels fees in successive budgets until they are removed entirely.
Funding for Youth Work
Enough funding should be allocated for youth work programmes to make sure they can meet the needs of all young people who need them, just as we need to invest in many of our public services. We should prioritise this funding over short sighted tax cuts.
End direct provision. We need a new asylum process that handles applications faster and treats human beings with the dignity they deserve. Not shambolic conditions that act as a quiet deterrent to those seeking refuge from war and disaster.
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- Read more about Liam van der Spek on their Website
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