At most doors the focus is on employment. I'm pleased that Labour are with us on the importance of green jobs.
A lot of the new jobs ARE green jobs, in renewable energy, and in areas like the Warmer Homes scheme. There’s thousands of contractors registered under the Home Energy Savings Scheme, that’s a lot of jobs, not to mention renewable energy. One of the most interesting of encounters so far was last week. It was one of those stormy afternoons, when people open the door and hold on to it with their two hands to stop it from slamming with the wind. She was elderly, about five foot nothing, and was delighted to have a candidate at the door in Silchester Park in Dún Laoghaire.
I like it when people have a list, and hers was impressive. She put on her glasses and ran through it.
Why can't they defer these Ministerial Pensions under they're 65.
They should, I'm in agreement with deferring it until Ministers retire.
What about fully vouched expenses?
I agree. Mine are online and I have the full list of receipts to back it up.
Could you not reduce the amount of TDs and councillors?
You're right, we'd like to bring it down to 120 TDs, and half of them should come from a list system, where you can be sure that you're selecting legislators.
Honesty and transparency?
Well, I think you have to judge that for yourself. We've made mistakes, and maybe with hindsight we'd have done things differently.
And your Vision of Ireland?
That was one of those right between the eyes questions. It's what people really want to know, and have difficulty in asking you.
I agreed with her, we discussed the loss of that sense of community, of meitheal during the boom years. Community spirit is the glue that holds us together, and there's an opportunity to rediscover that, during difficult times. My vision? I guess it's one that involves a steady-state economy, and I guess I've seen glimpses of it in Italy and in communities on the Northern coast of Spain. It's in the writings of Michael Viney, Herman Daly and Jane Jacobs, and In organisations like Seedsavers. However it's also there in smart new media firms like Salesforce, in buildings like the Media Cube in Dún Laoghaire, and in international companies that have put down roots in Ireland and generated exports. It's about making the most of the old, and the new, about passing on the environment in a fit and healthy state, and in ensuring that the glue that holds communities together stays strong.
It's a difficult concept to pin down, and a time of economic distress hugely challenging to discuss in the frenzy of electioneering, but a Vision of Ireland is what so many people are seeking, in Spring 2011.