The Roscommon People can reveal that the Green Party will contest the upcoming General Election in Roscommon/Galway constituency. The party, which is currently riding high in the opinion polls, will run Roscommon town resident Julie O’Donoghue (35). The Green Party is expected to form a Roscommon branch in the coming weeks.
Ms. O’Donoghue, a secondary school teacher by profession, is a native of Co. Cork who moved to Roscommon town five years ago. She is married to Brian Higgins, a native of Cootehall, Co. Roscommon. The couple have two children, Fionn (aged 5) and Ailbhe (1).
While Ms. O’Donoghue’s selection has to be formally confirmed, she will be the Green Party candidate. There are no other nominations, and Ms. O’Donoghue, who has campaigned on a number of social issues in recent years, is the candidate which the party believes can make the biggest impact.
Announcing her candidacy in the Roscommon People today, she says: “Politics was never part of the ‘plan’ for me, but increasingly in recent years I found myself becoming involved in campaigns. I’ve realised that if you want to effect change you need to be where the legislation and policy is made”.
Previously involved with ‘Friends of Breastfeeding’ at national level, Julie is now active with the Roscommon branch. She has campaigned on reproductive rights, and on the repeal of the 8th Amendment (with ‘Roscommon Together for Yes’). She is also a founding member of ‘Plastic-free Roscommon’.
She joined the Green Party about a year ago (“It was obvious that my views were aligned with their views”) having been attracted by the Greens’ “environmental views and progressive values”. Running for election wasn’t something she was planning to do, but an approach from the Longford/Westmeath branch sowed the seeds.
Now she’s in at the deep end. “It’s daunting to put yourself out there, but when you’re passionate about issues, it’s the right thing to do”.
She sees climate change as “the defining issue of our time”, adding “As a mother, I’m terribly worried…not just for the future, but for now”.
She rejects the perception that the ‘green agenda’ might not be rural Ireland friendly, and is frustrated with TDs who are “stoking fears” by talking up a ‘rural Ireland versus the environment’ narrative.
As for the recent Budget, Julie was “very disappointed” that there wasn’t more finance committed for the ‘Just Transition’ process for the Midlands. She feels that Fine Gael (“propped up by Fianna Fáil”) are still not taking environmental issues seriously enough.
While she will truly be wearing ‘the green jersey’ in the election campaign, the Green Party candidate stressed that she will be standing on “a broad spectrum of issues”.
“I will be making the case for social equality, for a people-centred economy which ensures a good quality of life for everyone”. She says she will also prioritise a number of other pressing issues, including in relation to housing, health, childcare costs and insurance concerns.
“As a new candidate, I know this will be daunting, but I am looking forward to raising these important issues and I am ready to make my case to the electorate”.