A LOOP Head community activist predicts up to 10 new local elections candidates will come under his political umbrella group by the end of the month.
Noel Gavin, an award-winning photojournalist with over 40 years’ experience with national and international media, is one of the Clare candidates, who has signed up to Independents Together (IT).
Kilbaha-based sculptor, Jim Connolly, who established the Irish Citizens’ Party in 2012 has now formed IT, which he insists is a “unique concept in the development of democratic politics”.
Keen to provide a political voice for people who feel abandoned and disillusioned by traditional party politics, the Rural Resettlement founder has already recruited two new candidates from Cork; Ross Cannon from Fermoy and Denis O’Brien from Mallow.
Another high profile outgoing independent Dublin councillor, is committed to signing up to a series of “humanitarian principles, which put the quality of life of all citizens as a top priority”.
In addition to the existing line-up, Mr Connolly expects three other candidates from Clare, Louth and Carlow will join the group, following serious expressions of interest.
He also believes up to three new Wexford candidates will becomes part of IT after a February 20 public meeting.
Mr Connolly insists he will not be a candidate and will instead play an active role as the new acting secretary. Thrilled with the initial response to this new political grouping, he believes there is a big future for IT.
While members of IT must adhere to a number of core principles, no party whip will be applied if candidates are elected. Accountability and transparency will be mandatory; all candidates will be working together to an agreed principled agenda. IT members are committed to end all super-salaries paid to top civil and public servants and will lobby for a referendum to let the people decide salaries of politicians, judges and the President.
They will campaign for an element of debt write down for mortgage arrears for the negative equity portion of all mortgages entered into during the boom period.
The requirement for representatives from the disadvantaged sector to sit on every education board at all levels, is another policy commitment.
Limerick-born Noel had been visiting Kilkee on summer holidays from the age of 14 and decided to make the seaside town his permanent home in 2011. He is very familiar with the West/North Clare area he hopes to represent.
Fed up of watching the payments and pensions to “overpaid politicians”, he will lobby to cut politicians’ pay.
He believes the salaries of elected councillors, TDs, ministers, and senators should be calculated according to an agreed formula, benchmarked against the national wage of €35,000. Proposing that councillors should be paid half this rate, he will campaign for deputies to receive double this figure of €70,000 with ministers and the president receiving €105,000,
Mr Gavin will campaign for measures to attract jobs into West Clare, rural depopulation and isolation and believes passionately in sustainable development of the Loop Head peninsula.