Independent politicians can wield considerable influence in Dáil Éireann, as evidenced by the various scandals uncovered in recent years around cervical cancer, Garda malpractice, and NAMA - all revealed by Independent TDs.
This is the view of the Mayor of Galway City, and Independent city councillor, Mike Cubbard, who this week announced he will be running in the February 8 election in Galway West.
"With almost six years experience in local politics I believe I am now capable of stepping up to national politics and representing Galway in Dáil Éireann," he said. "The general public are fed up of glossy manifestos, empty promises, and false dawns therefore my message will be simple - I am seeking your support in order to work on your behalf on issues that relate to your community and to Galway as a whole."
Mayor Cubbard ran in the 2011 and 2016 general elections, but is expected to put in a much stronger performance this time, given how his stature and prominence hve risen in that period - he topped the poll in Galway City Central in last May's local elections with a first preference vote of 1,292, and is currently the Mayor of Galway City.
He signalled his intention to stand in Election 2020 as far back as last June in an interview with the Galway Advertiser: “It’s my intention to contest the next General Election. Gathering almost 1,300 votes as a huge achievement, but if I’m to believe what I’ve been told, there was a similar number of people turning up at the Ballybane boxes looking to vote for me there. I know I've good support in Mervue and Knocknacarra, so we'll see. I’m not well known in the county, but we’ve started a bit of work on that, and I’m confident there won’t be a household in Galway West who won’t know Mike Cubbard before polling day at the next General Election.”
Among his campaign priorities will be housing, hospital waiting lists, mental health supports, and poor level of pay for members of the Defence Forces. The environment will also be a focus for the Mayor, and he has pledged not to use posters during the campaign.
"We need someone with a track record on environmental protection and with a conviction to make decisions around climate change we need to take," he said. "We need Galway's needs answered and delivered in the 2040 Strategic Plan. I will remain engaged with the public as I have done since my election in 2014 and work for a better Galway."