People And Nature “Free public transport opens the city to all”, says Fare Free London, a campaign set up on 10 February at the Waterloo Action Centre.
1-March-2024

Free public transport “is provided as a public service, just like health, education and public parks, and is supported by public investment.

“It is central to a vision of London as a city where people, their health and the lives they live, come first”.

After the meeting, I did a podcast with Future Transport London, a long-standing campaign group. It’s here – please click and listen!

Photo by Tammy Ljungblad, Kansas City Star.

Fare Free London is following an international trend. The photo is from Kansas City in the US, which has had zero bus fares for four years – and where campaigners want to make this highly successful scheme permanent.

Asked on the podcast about the objectives of the proposal for free public transport, I said there are two:

First, to make the system more socially equitable. London is more socially un-equal than any other part of the UK. A higher proportion of households is in poverty, 25%, than any other region except North East England.
Second, to take drastic, demonstrative action on greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

On greenhouse gases, the mayor’s strategy is focused on electrifying vehicles. This can not produce results fast enough, as has been shown in detail by research published last year by a team based at Imperial College.

A substantial reduction in traffic is needed. That’s also good for tackling air pollution and improving other health outcomes.

In answer to a question about what other policies are needed, I said that experience shows that providing free public transport, on its own, does not necessarily lead to big cuts in road traffic.

It needs to be combined with (i) substantial investment to improve the system, (ii) measures to provide more road space for other users (pedestrians, people on bikes and so on) and not just for cars, and (iii) ending policies that subsidise cars and road-building at the public’s expense. SP, 1 March 2024.

🔴The Fare Free London campaign is getting up and running. Supporters will be demonstrating on Thursday 7 March, at 9.30am, at City Hall, Kamal Chunchie Way, London E16 1ZE, at the plenary meeting on the London Assembly. There is information about the 10 February meeting on the web site of the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel coalition. If you want to get involved, email stopsilvertown[at]gmail.com.

🔴 About the photo. Members of Sunrise Movement in Kansas City lobbied a meeting of the Board of Commissioners (the local government body in charge of transport) on 20 December. The Board was considering a proposal to end the city’s highly successful zero-fares policy, which has applied to buses for the last four years. The decision was postponed, further discussed in January … and the fight continues. 

⏩ People & Nature is now on mastodon, as well as twitterwhatsapp and telegram. Please follow! Or email peoplenature@protonmail.com, and we’ll add you to our circulation list (2-4 messages per month).

‘Free Public Transport Opens The City To All’

Lynx By Ten To The Power Of Nine Hundred And Sixty Five

Dr John Coulter ✍ The Christian denominations in Ireland need to swallow the bitter medicine that they are facing a Custer’s Last Stand when it comes to opposing any laws to legalise assisted dying in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Christian churches have already lost battles to stop the legalisation of homosexuality, the introduction of same sex marriages, more liberal abortion laws, and the introduction of safe access zones at abortion clinics.

Likewise, they face a tough uphill fight to combat the extension of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) across all schools in Northern Ireland.

Ireland, north and south, used to have the reputation where church and state were fused together in the running of political and social affairs. But this is a very different island compared to the days of Eamon de Valera in the South, and James Craig in the North.

Put bluntly, the churches will need a united front with a strongly pro-active campaign to lobby politicians if they are to prevent assisted dying being legalised throughout the island. Clerics have a moral and Biblical duty to mobilise their flocks against any introduction of assisted dying.

Loose this battle, and the relevance of the churches will be radically diminished. There is also the very real danger the assisted dying debate among the churches will become yet another Orange and Green argument.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP both say they would consider supporting a change to the law to allow assisted dying for people with a terminal illness. Could this see a boost for the pro-life republican party, Aontu; a movement founded by disillusioned Sinn Fein supporters unhappy with the latter’s support for abortion?

Within the Unionist community, both the DUP and TUV would oppose assisted dying, as would the so-called evangelical wing of the UUP.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have make it clear there would need to be safeguards in place to ensure any new laws were not abused.

While assisted dying is currently illegal in Northern Ireland, there are moves in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, to bring in new legislation on the issue.

A bill to legalise assisted dying for terminally-ill people in Scotland was introduced at Holyrood last month.

Christians need to hammer home the point that when it comes to the subject of death, it is God who decides when a person dies and enters eternity.

Surely with the developments in science and medicine over the decades, better pain relief drugs have been developed in terms of end of life care.

Many Christians believe passionately in the power of prayer and divine healing. But to legalise assisted dying must be branded for what it truly is - people playing God.

Those who advocate assisted dying may point all they want to the many safeguards they claim will be put in place, but ultimately a human has to take the decision to end someone’s suffering.

For Christians to simply roll over and accept assisted dying is to Biblically bin the concept of divine healing. Of course, supporters of assisted dying may argue - what about the folk that God does not heal and end up dying?

Some folk may even argue the point - what is the difference between assisted dying and capital punishment? The end result is the same; the death of an individual.

However, the real danger with assisted dying is that a decision is taken once a diagnosis of a potentially fatal illness is made before that person deteriorates into becoming terminally-ill.

In spite of all the so-called safeguards, checks and balances which supporters of assisted dying may claim will be put in place, at some point someone will suggest the use of assisted dying could be applied to physically and mentally handicapped people based on their quality of life.

If that situation should ever occur, society would be no better than the Nazis who butchered millions in their death camps during the Hitler era.

Another problem for the churches in opposing assisted dying is that many denominations are so busy bickering about pedantic issues, such as music at worship, translations of the Bible, women’s fashion in church, that they will miss the big picture.

Similarly, some denominations may not want to work with other churches for the simple reason they view such co-operation as some form of ecumenism and don’t want to be branded by militant fundamentalists as being part of the ecumenical movement.

One thing is certain; if the churches lose this battle on preventing assisted dying laws being introduced across the island, Christian denominations will also see what influence they still have radically reduced to the point where politicians simply ignore the views of the churches.

If that situation becomes a reality, the churches have only themselves to blame. Like it or not, the churches must form a united front on stopping any potential assisted dying laws.

Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter
Listen to commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online.

Churches Need To Mobilise Against Any Assisted Dying Laws

35 years ago today 97 Liverpool FC fans were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough Stadium. There followed a horrific and undeniable smear campaign of blame against the people of Liverpool by the establishment, Thatcher's government, a right wing press and the police.



⚽   ⚽   ⚽   ⚽   ⚽   ⚽

Jon-Paul Gilhooley - 10
Philip Hammond - 14
Thomas Anthony Howard - 14
Paul Brian Murray - 14
Lee Nicol - 14
Adam Edward Spearritt - 14
Peter Andrew Harrison - 15
Victoria Jane Hicks - 15
Philip John Steele - 15
Kevin Tyrrell - 15
Kevin Daniel Williams - 15 
Kester Roger Marcus Ball -16 
Nicholas Michael Hewitt - 16
Martin Kevin Traynor - 16
Simon Bell - 17
Carl Darren Hewitt - 17
Keith McGrath - 17 
Stephen Francis O'Neill - 17
Steven Joseph Robinson - 17
Henry Charles Rogers - 17
Stuart Paul William Thompson - 17
Graham John Wright - 17
James Gary Aspinall - 18
Carl Brown - 18
Paul Clark - 18
Christopher Barry Devonside - 18
Gary Philip Jones - 18 
Carl David Lewis - 18
John McBrien - 18
Jonathon Owens - 18
Colin Mark Ashcroft - 19
Paul William Carlile - 19
Gary Christopher Church - 19 
James Philip Delaney - 19
Sarah Louise Hicks - 19
David William Mather - 19
Colin Wafer - 19
Ian David Whelan - 19
Stephen Paul Copoc - 20
Ian Thomas Glover - 20
Gordon Rodney Horn - 20 
Paul David Brady - 21
Thomas Steven Fox - 21
Marian Hazel McCabe - 21
Joseph Daniel McCarthy - 21
Peter McDonnell - 21 
Carl William Rimmer - 21 
Peter Francis Tootle - 21 



David John Benson - 22
David William Birtle - 22 
Tony Bland - 22
Gary Collins - 22
Tracey Elizabeth Cox - 23
William Roy Pemberton - 23
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton 23
David Leonard Thomas - 23
Peter Andrew Burkett - 24
Derrick George Godwin - 24
Graham John Roberts - 24
David Steven Brown - 25
Richard Jones - 25
Barry Sidney Bennett - 26
Andrew Mark Brookes - 26
Paul Anthony Hewitson - 26
Paula Ann Smith - 26
Christopher James Traynor - 26
Barry Glover - 27
Gary Harrison - 27
Christine Anne Jones - 27
Nicholas Peter Joynes - 27
Francis Joseph McAllister - 27
Alan McGlone - 28
Joseph Clark - 29
Christopher Edwards - 29
James Robert Hennessy - 29
Alan Johnston - 29
Anthony Peter Kelly - 29
Martin Kenneth Wild - 29
Peter Reuben Thompson - 30
Stephen Francis Harrison - 31
Eric Hankin - 33 
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons - 34
Roy Harry Hamilton - 34 
Patrick John Thompson - 35
Michael David Kelly - 38 
Brian Christopher Mathews - 38
David George Rimmer - 38
Inger Shah - 38
David Hawley - 39
Thomas Howard - 39
Arthur Horrocks - 41
Eric George Hughes - 42
Henry Thomas Burke - 47
Raymond Thomas Chapman - 50
John Alfred Anderson - 62
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron - 67 
Andrew Devine - 55




Unlawfully Killed @ 35th Anniversary

 

A Morning Thought @ 2121

The Fenian Way 🏴remembers a Dublin republican.

Andy O’Rourke

By its very definition struggle is not easy. It is an onerous decision on anyone’s behalf to engage with the republican struggle wherein death, imprisonment and financial destitution are the regular fruits harvested for those who are not diverted from its core objectives.

When you add debilitating illness into the mix the weight of struggle increases tenfold. It is a particularly difficult and personal burden because at its heart is an unwanted restriction on a republican’s ability to prosecute the struggle to their utmost ability.

I didn’t know Andy outside of his illness; but his illness didn’t define him to me in my first impressions, as I was unaware of it. He had an odd but patient manner which took getting used to, but it would prove highly effective on the particular journey we both undertook together.

Republicanism was in chaos, a comprehensive British victory. What was fundamental in addressing this crisis was a core position, or event, around which Irish republicans could coalesce to at least in part get republicans to recognise how dire our position was.

This wasn’t an easy task as the republican propensity to shout ‘sell out’ as a panacea to culpable gullibility gave short thrift to reasoned debate. This is where Andy’s patience, a lot of it, came into its own.

The centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising was fast approaching. The Good Friday Agreement was nearing its second decade anniversary. The obvious clash between the goals of Easter Week and the terms of that settlement were ripe for exploration. But any hopes for a receptive audience to the republican analysis was dependent on rational discourse and not green sloganizing.

This potential was not lost on the State who developed the so-called Decade of Centenaries in a bid to dilute the revolutionary objectives and achievements of that time. It was a group hug for political and historical revisionists.

And so began an intellectual journey to discover and formulate new republican ideas set against the historical ideas who made republicans like Andy who they are, body and mind.

Meetings after meetings we delved into the soul of Irish republicanism, a very curious journey. The physicality of it was a definite strain on Andy but the intellectual stimulus he derived from it was the challenge he needed to overcome the increasing limitations of his illness. He stopped driving, a relief to many!

Out of this paradox emerged what we believed Irish republicanism needed, not an answer, but a challenge. We met together on numerous occasions, outside of the formal meetings throughout the country, to digest what we had heard and ascertain what, if any, common ground could be had.

We settled on two salient points. Firstly, the vast majority of Irish republicans were not in republican groups and secondly, the vast majority of republican groups had grave difficulties in explaining the basic premise of their very existence. And as Andy remarked, in his own unique and attention provoking way, ‘it’s not for us to explain it for them’.

Organising for the centenary of 1916 gave a lot of republicans a much-needed focus for their activism. What was considered a no-brainer, a one day in a hundred years show of republican unity and strength, was actually a very frustrating process.

A lot of groups saw it as an opportunity to promote themselves, to go it alone as some form of badge of distinction little realising, or caring, that the common bond amongst the groups was one of failure. It proved to be an eye-opener for Andy and others and demonstrated in real time the scale of the problems we faced.

And so the centenary was marked with thousands of republicans taking to the streets of our capital in the largest non-state commemoration held on that Easter Monday 2016. It was loud, bright and colourful but completely devoid of any semblance of solution or message to make Irish republicanism relevant in its current environment. The following day, and in all the days hence, the two salient points alluded to earlier continue to prevail.

Our paths drifted somewhat afterwards. When Covid arrived Andy’s illness made him particularly susceptible to its ravages which imposed an almost solitary confinement regime on him. But with his usual fortitude and resilience he came through it, yet his illness relentlessly pursued him.

A couple of days before his passing, when his family were summoned to his side, he continued with his wit and humour. Some say it was the morphine but those who knew him recognised that it was his true self, an optimistic character positive to the end.

Andy was a true Fenian; what he did publicly for Ireland the entire world can see, what he did in the shadows for Ireland the British establishment felt.

As he was carried on his final journey his coffin was flanked by his comrades and draped in the very tricolour behind which thousands marched in 2016. As is fitting for his family Irish republicans presented them with an Irish tricolour in appreciation of his service to his country.

And as is fitting for his legacy the National Flag, flown on that memorable day, will continue to do so. For every time we march behind it, we know that our friend and comrade Andy is marching with us, relentlessly reminding us that the mantle of Irish republicanism can only be inherited by those who have ideas to advance it.

⏩ The Fenian Way was a full time activist during the IRA's war against the British. 

Andy O’Rourke

Lynx By Ten To The Power Of Nine Hundred And Sixty Four

Anthony McIntyre ⚽ Another very poor performance by Liverpool this afternoon saw them put the seal on yet another failed attempt to win the English Premier League. 

That failure more or less took place last week in a pretty woeful performance against Manchester United. Crystal Palace were today merely issuing the death certificate, confirming what fans deep down already knew. Champions get up when they know they can't. The losers of Liverpool stayed on the canvas and heard themselves counted out. 

This is a dead team and there is no point in trying to give the kiss of life to a corpse. 

Today, having conceded the obligatory early goal they were too jaded to make one of their much vaunted recoveries. While disappointed, I am not going to feign surprise. I felt a defeat would be the outcome, even having suggested as much to my friend Paddy during the Drogheda United game on Friday evening. This Anfield side had simply run out of puff, lacking the stamina to sustain a successful run in all four competitions they were reckoned by some pundits to be in with a chance of winning.

What makes it all the more galling is that they wore the black armband in memory of those who died at Hillsborough in April 1989. The 35th anniversary of that mass unlawful killing by South Yorkshire Police occurs tomorrow.  We might be forgiven for thinking that those who turned out in the armbands would at least have put in a serious performance in sombre tribute to the dead fans alone. Not a bit of it. They played dead for the occasion. We were served up a mishap and misfire in front of goal. Even Andy Robertson's great goal-line intervention to prevent Palace going a further goal ahead did nothing to inspire this most uninspiring lot. 

I have no intention of watching them again this season. There is no joy to be derived from their underwhelming performances. It merely puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day and irritability hangs around for days after. Not worth it. I don't have a gluttonous appetite for for the punishment meted out by this pack of underachievers. 

Mo Salah should pack his bags. Why Nunez should be taken off but not Salah was confirmation that Klopp had given up the ghost, a feeling reinforced when Gakpo came on. I simply fail to see what the Dutch international does for this Liverpool side. When he was in the starting line up against Atalanta on Thursday evening, I winced. It seemed such a clear statement of intent by Klopp that he was not serious about winning the Europa league.

Not that Nunez, who was substituted today, has been great either. An exciting player, he misses far too many chances, exuding the appearance of the busy fool. As Michael Owen suggests he needs to be able to go around players, rather than simply blast everything off the keeper or the woodwork. 

This year's EPL champions will, I think, be Manchester City. They are better finishers than Arsenal whose unfamiliarity with being so close to the title last year created the jitters that would eventually deprive them of the crown. 

The one good thing about today's result is that it puts the fans out of their misery. This side was never going to win the title. Had they not blown it by now they would most certainly have done so by the last game of the season against Wolves. No point in prolonging the agony. It ended today. The Wolvers fixture was a game I had intended going to the pub for with my son, and some of our friends. Not now. Better to go to the pub and watch glasses being washed than view mediocrity from the Mersey.

Tomorrow I will remember those killed at Hillsborough while trying best to forget this inept title-losing side. 

Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.

Liverpoor

Irish News ✒ NIO minister seeks to block information being passed to family of murdered Catholic man Fergal McCusker.. Written by Connla Young. Recommended by Christy Walsh. 


Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris has been accused of “an unprecedented political intervention” as it emerged he has written to chief constable Jon Boutcher questioning his actions.

Dramatic details came to light during an inquest hearing liked to the LVF murder of Fergal McCusker (28) in Maghera, Co Derry, as he made his way home from a night out on January 18, 1998.

No-one has ever been charged with the Catholic man’s murder, although four men were arrested and later released.

Mr McCusker’s family believe there was collusion involved.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory KC, acting for the McCusker family, raised serious concerns after the Secretary of State recent intervention in the inquest, which opened last year.

During Tuesday’s hearing in Belfast, coroner Paddy McGurgan, heard how Mr Heaton-Harris referred to comments made by Mr Boutcher about a High Court case linked to another legacy inquest as “unwelcome”, while details of Mr Boutcher’s “robust” response were also revealed.

Mr McCusker’s callous killing came months after the LVF gunned down prominent GAA member Sean Brown in nearby Bellaghy in May 1997.

Continue reading @ Irish News.

Chris Heaton-Harris Accused Of ‘Unprecedented Political Intervention’ In Legacy Inquest

Right Wing Watch 👀 When Joe Biden won the presidential election in 2020, he managed to secure one electoral vote from the state of Nebraska thanks to a 1991 law that allocates electoral votes by congressional district rather than the “winner take all” method used by most other states.

Kyle Mantyla
With the 2024 presidential election expected to be close, right-wing activists, led by right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk, have launched a campaign to pressure the Nebraska legislature to change the system explicitly for the benefit of Donald Trump.

On Tuesday night, Kirk’s TPUSA held a rally at far-right pastor and self-proclaimed “prophet” Hank Kunneman’s Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, where speaker after speaker made clear that the purpose of this campaign is solely to help reelect Trump.

TPUSA Action’s Brett Galaszewski opened the event by declaring that if the Nebraska system is changed, Trump will have “a much easier path to the presidency.”

William Feely, legislative director of the Nebraska Republican Party, then said that Nebraskans want to see the law changed “to support Donald J. Trump as their next president.”

“Do you want four more years of Joe Biden?” asked Eric Underwood, chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party. 

Continue reading @ Right Wing Watch.

Change Nebraska Electoral Law Explicitly To Benefit Trump

Ten links to a diverse range of opinion that might be of interest to TPQ readers. They are selected not to invite agreement but curiosity. Readers can submit links to pieces they find thought provoking.


Lynx By Ten To The Power Of Nine Hundred And Sixty Three

 

A Morning Thought @ 2120

Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr🎤 Press Release.

The current Donegal County Council comprises of 37 Cllr’s. Among them, there are 12 from Fianna Fail, 10 from Sinn Fein, 4 from Fine Gael, 1 from the Labour Party, and 7 Independents who have formed a pact. Additionally, there are 3 other Independents, including myself (Cllr Frank McBrearty), Cllr Michael McBride, and Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig. 

Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, and the Independents collectively present themselves as an all-inclusive Council. However, independent Cllr’s like us are not part of this arrangement. Unfortunately, this type of politics does not promote democratic and healthy political debate. Effective politics thrive when there is robust opposition in both Irish local and national government. These political groupings have imposed limitations on our speaking time during motions. Only the proposer and seconder of a motion are allowed to speak on it. Yet, this is not what people voted for. 

Voters expect us to hold civil servants accountable, especially when they fail in their duties. In principle, civil servants are answerable to the people, and that’s precisely why we elect Cllr’s—to be our voice in Irish local government. Regrettably, this mandate has been lost in translation due to power-hungry and expense-focused Cllr’s who prioritize their own interests over those of the public for which they were elected to serve. 

Since 2014, these political groupings have established a power-sharing pact. Among the benefits they share are: 

  1. County Mayors and Vice Mayors: Five of each €40,000 pa & €10,000 pa. 
  2. Cathaoirelachs: Twenty-five across five municipal districts (Letterkenny/Milford, Inishowen, Lifford/Stranorlar, Glenties, and Donegal): €12,000 pa for Letterkenny, €10,000 pa for Inishowen and €6000 pa for the other three. 
  3. Special Policy Chairs (SPC): Six positions - €6000 pa for 5 years = €30,000. 
  4. Vice Chairs (SPC): Another six positions. 
  5. National Committees: Including the Western Health Forum, NWRA, ETB, ATU and others. 
  6. Internal Council Committees: Such as the SPCs, JPCs, DLDC, IP and others. 
  7. Board Memberships: These can also be lucrative for Cllr’s. Additionally, they claim expenses for conferences, training, and other junkets over the five-year term—all at the taxpayers’ expense. 

The positions of Chair and Vice-Chair of the AILG and LAMA are particularly sought after. In total, these councillors benefit to the tune of €1 million+ in tax-free expenses during their 5 year term. Their annual salary of €28,500 each, adds up to approximately €5,272,500 million. 

Meanwhile, taxpayers contribute to Donegal in the tune of well over €7 million to fund their representation in Donegal County Council and Irish local government. Remarkably, only two Cllr’s—myself (Frank McBrearty) and Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig— do not hold other jobs. We are committed full-time public representatives. 

Unfortunately, I have witnessed first-hand the abuse of power by some Cllr’s. Some have been found guilty by the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) for claiming unauthorized expenses. Furthermore, certain Cllr’s attend conferences but claim expenses they are not entitled to, even if they didn’t actually attend. This abuse should have been curtailed, especially after five Donegal County Cllr’s were found guilty of such offenses under the 2001 Local Government Act (amended). 

The AILG and LAMA have played a role in perpetuating this abuse, as evidenced by recent conferences where some Cllr’s claim expenses without attending or exceeded their entitlements if they do attend. The AILG (Association of Irish Local Government) and LAMA (Local Authority Members Association) serve as unions for these Cllr’s right across the country. With a total of 949 councillors, these organizations play a crucial role in representing elected officials first and not the people first. I am proud to be one of them, however, I am ashamed of what they do which is challenged by the very few.

However, unlike many of my colleagues, I don’t have the luxury of attending the frequent “junkets” organized by these unions and Council’s right across the Country. These events consume valuable time, and I wonder: do they truly benefit the public interest? 

Accountability and Taxpayer Funds -A Call for Investigation There’s an urgent need for a criminal investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau into the misuse of taxpayers’ money by certain Cllr’s and their Political Parties. This abuse persists, largely unchecked, within Donegal County Council and other local authorities nationwide. As taxpayers, we fund these activities, and it’s our right to demand transparency and accountability especially from those we elect to Irish local government and who we are supposed to trust after we elect them on their word and false promises. 

Political Landscape and Growing Concerns - In the last local elections in Donegal, Fianna Fail gained an additional Cllr, bringing their total to 12, while Sinn Fein also increased by 1 their representation to 10 councillors. This trend is concerning and the Electorate have to be made aware of this. If these two political powerhouses continue to grow, they could potentially seize complete control of Donegal County Council. The implications of such dominance are daunting and unthinkable.

Challenging the Status Quo and Unconstitutional Powers - Dissenters always face consequences. I’ve experienced this first-hand. When you challenge the status quo especially in the forgotten County of Donegal, you risk being silenced. Certain Cllr’s wield unconstitutional powers hidden within the 2001 Local Government Act (amended 2020). They can suspend you from meetings and committees, withholding your salary, expenses and fine you a percentage of that salary for long periods of time as they have done to me over 2022, 2023 and 2024. But they cannot expel or suspend you as an elected member of “the Council”—a mandate bestowed by the people is protected by the people in a 5 year binding contract. 

Party Politics: Lessons Learned - My journey through party politics has certainly been an eye-opening experience. As a former Labour Party Cllr for four years and Labour Party Mayor in 2012/13 along with a brief stint as a Fine Gael Cllr, I’ve certainly witnessed the inner workings of these parties. Fine Gael courted me before the 2019 local government elections and I was convinced by those around me at the time to join their ranks, especially by former Minister Joe McHugh TD and former Junior Minister Dinny McGinley TD. It became clear to me when I was re-elected to “the Council” that their real agenda was all about leveraging my personal vote for the Minister and not a genuine commitment to public service. This is why they sought me out, especially due to the Cultural & Heritage area I am from and grew up in, which Fine Gael TD Paddy Harte had represented for over 36 years in “the Council” and in our “National Parliament”. 

When I resigned after 5 weeks due to not being their yes man as they thought. They attemped to entice me to stay with the offer of a Seanad Seat and three lucrative national committees. This is how Party Politics works “say yes” “do as your told” and “we will look after you”. 

Politics should never be about financial gain, it should be about representing the people first especially those who put their trust in you to represent them. 

Resilience and Advocacy Politics is a gritty arena, and resilience and fighting spirit is essential. I stand up for my family and all constituents—whether they voted for me or not. My political career transcends mere vote counts; it’s about representing the people in local government first, not the Civil Servants that really have full control because of the Political Parties that hold the balance of power in Lifford.

Sadly, I’ve found little difference between political parties in the Republic of Ireland. Too often, party interests overshadow the real needs of the people. As an independent Cllr, I remain steadfast in my commitment to genuine and honest Political representation. In the words of Plato, “The worst form of justice is pretend justice.”

🖼 Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr serves as an Independent Councillor on Donegal County Council.

Unveiling The Inner Workings Of Donegal County Council: A Councillor’s Perspective