I have been a Green Party Councillor since 2004; one of the Green Party’s longest serving elected public representatives. I served as Mayor of Kilkenny in 2009, a year when the Green Party lost all but three of our councillors.
Prior to entering electoral politics I was an environmental and community activist for twenty years; as a director of Friends of the Earth Ireland and a community activist with disadvantaged communities in Kilkenny.
My academic and professional background is diverse; graphic design, landscape gardening and rural development. I am currently studying towards an MA in International Development at NUIM.
My political and activist life has been driven by a deep sense of social justice and the urgency on mobilising community animation towards a sustainable and safe future for all living things. Like You I am extremely concerned with the lack of ambition both in Ireland and globally towards meeting the greatest challenge we face collectively. I believe that a true climate justice worldview compels us to question the current economic paradigm which is driving all living things towards a perilous future.
Yet I remain hopeful. Working as I have on many European projects over the past decade, I am encouraged by the cooperation and sense of purpose of the people of Europe to work together towards achieving shared goals.
Through my involvement in our County LEADER Partnership, Europe for Citizens and other EU partnership projects I work closely with partners across Europe on urban mobility, energy and climate, town twinning and exchange, habitats and rural development. I have forged working relationships across many EU Countries and I see the future of Europe lying in social solidarity, mobilisation of communities towards meeting the climate and extinction challenge from the bottom up.
I see a role for the arts and creative sector to engage and mobilise communities, particularly our young people towards changing the narrative, understanding the language and science of climate change and empowering people with the tools to make this big transition. The transition is both an incredible challenge but also a great opportunity to create a safe future, sustainable employment and steady state economies that measure progress based on the sustainable development goals and not the blunt tool of economic growth.
As the son of a former Defence Forces Congo veteran, I am incredibly proud of the unique role of the Irish Defence Forces as a peacekeeping force. We are respected the World over, in conflict and transition zones where we are trusted above all other Nations. In the depths of the crisis in the Mediterranean, the Irish Navy performed heroics in rescuing people fleeing economic and social turmoil. I do not want this unique role to be eroded by a Government that is courting participation in a Pan European Army.
At a political level I have represented the Green Party with distinction; as a General Election and By Election candidate, achieving one of the highest first preference votes outside the Greater Dublin Area. I have been Party Spokesperson for Environment and currently occupy the portfolio of Rural and Community Affairs and Local Government.
On a personal level, I am married to Jennie and we have four children ranging in age from 4 to 16 years.