Ballot papers arrive for the NUl Seanad elections this week and independent candidate, Alice-Mary Higgins, has said she will draw on advocacy experience with Trocaire, Older & Bolder and the National Women’s Council of Ireland to bring “long term thinking into the heart of policy-making.”
She said that she will be pressing for equality proofing of social and economic policies and prioritisation of quality public services, including much needed capital investment at University Hospital Galway.
“Ambition is badly needed in our national infastructure. For example, Ireland will need to double investment in childcare and early years supports just to reach the OECD average.”
“Long-term thinking requires public research and demographic planning, recognising, for example, that 18 per cent of the population will have or acquire a disability. Having worked with older people and with young people in unemployment I know that participation is essential for all ages, yet youth work and home care supports have been eroded while mental health services remain deeply under-resourced. These shortfalls in care have a longer-term cost, not just for individuals but for society,” she added.
Ms Higgins emphasised the importance of “sustainable economic development, built on decent work, environmental awareness and creative thinking, as seen, for example, in the Food Festival which I like many other Galwegians, will be enjoying this weekend. I also believe there is real potential to reward good business and increase local benefit by attaching social and environmental clauses to the billions spent on Public Procurement each year. “
“If elected, I will offer vision and action across all these areas and I urge all those who have an NUI vote to give me their first or highest preference,” she concluded.