Independent voices are needed more than ever

May 28, 2007 at 10:07 am | Posted in Statements | Leave a comment

Following the General Election result, which gave an increased concentration of seats to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, independent parliamentary voices are needed more than ever. In that context, the Seanad can become more relevant and important in offering an opportunity for diverse and different perspectives to be heard. This is particularly so in the case of the university seats where graduates have the opportunity to support genuinely independent contributors. 

For example, it was a matter of regret that in the general election campaign the economic model propagated by the outgoing government did not come under more rigorous critique. It is clear that the ‘business as usual’ approach is no longer viable. The need to confront peak oil and climate change is not simply an environmental issue. It is an economic imperative. The rationale for this is outlined in many recent reports such as that of Sir Nicholas Stern in the UK. 

The move to sustainability offers the only way to sustain competitiveness, economic growth and quality of life. This is the approach being adopted by countries such as Norway and is one that Ireland should pursue. If elected to Seanad Eireann I pledge to make this argument central to my contributions. 

Finally, may I express my personal sadness at the defeat of Dr Jerry Cowley. He fell victim to an expected Fine Gael surge in Mayo. I know him to be a honourable and decent man who did his public duty at all times. 

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