ANOTHER Independent candidate is set to enter the General Election race in Clare. Ennis native Trudy Leyden has declared her intention to contest the election, putting race relations at the top of her list of priorities. Ms Leyden who has been deeply involved with Fine Gael as a party activist has said that while she would have loved the chance to run for the party, she understands there no places left on the ticket this time around.
“I understand that there’s nobody ready to retire within Fine Gael, but I can’t put my life on hold while I wait for a place,” Ms Leyden said. “I’ve made it clear to Fine Gael over the years that I was ready to run, but the ticket was decided and once that happens, it’s very difficult to get a look in.”
Ms Leyden said that first-hand experience of the decline of race relations in France and the rise of the far right were a major motivator for her to study politics and to decide to stand for election herself: “I have an MA from UCC and studied the Far Right in detail. Their methods are sinister and we witnessed them here in Clare when the Direct Provision centre opened in Lisdoonvarna.”
Ms Leyden’s own experience of violence at the hands of Neo Nazi groups in France and of seeing her Algerian house mates despair at the political situation there are also big factors in her decision: “I would be fearful, after what I saw in France that the Far Right could rise in popularity here. As a candidate, my big priority is the transition to a multicultural society.”
Ms Leyden also lists legislation to prevent parental alienation of fathers in the event of separation and divorce as a major issue in her campaign, as well as action on housing and homelessness. She is also an advocate for the mandatory training in politics for all elected representatives.