Before her time in Dáil Éireann, Fingal General Election candidate Clare Daly TD had her first brush with politics as President of the DCU Students’ Union.
“We mobilised students more than any other college around issues like opposition to education cuts which were dominant in the 1980s. We occupied the Students’ Unions offices and hit the national headlines in that regard,” Daly said of her two terms in the SU. “We were also very instrumental in the campaign around abortion information.”
She begrudgingly admitted involvement with a certain club during her time in DCU “I was involved in the Labour Party at a certain stage, very ashamed of that one now.”
During her time in politics, Daly has never been shy in her views. She was jailed for her part in anti-bin charge protests in 2003. In 2015 she served four hours in a Limerick prison for refusing to pay a fine for breaching prohibited areas in Shannon Airport. Daly has long protested the US military refuelling there.
Daly was elected to the Dáil in 2011. In her bid to retain her seat, she vows “to use the platform to articulate the key issues of concern for ordinary people on issues of social justice and women’s rights. Will that appeal to students, yes, I think so.”
Roderic O’Gorman, the chairperson of the Green Party, is running for a seat in the Dublin North West constituency in the upcoming General election.
O’Gorman has promised that if he is elected to the Dáil he will try to introduce a new law to promote the building of new affordable houses for the people of Dublin.
He grew up in Dublin 15 and first stood for the Green Party in the 2004 local elections, but was unsuccessful. He subsequently contested two general elections, two by-elections and the 2009 local election, before claiming a seat on Fingal County Council in 2014.
O’Gorman completed his degree in Politics, Economics and Law in Trinity College Dublin and went onto complete his PhD there in 2011.
O’Gorman joined DCU’s School of Law & Government from Griffith College Dublin in 2012, where he had worked as a lecturer and a course director for five years. He currently acts as programme chairperson for the BA in Economics, Politics and Law degree in DCU. He also continues to lecture in Politics which, he says, he enjoys doing.
“Education is my passion, both as a lecturer in DCU and now as a board of management member for Castleknock Community College.”
O’Gorman has said that there needs to be more money put aside for facilities in the health, transport and education sectors and has said that he would lobby against any further increases proposed for third level fees.
“Dublin West needs investment in health and education facilities, public transport and childcare places.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny studied primary school teaching in St. Patrick’s College, graduating in 1970.
When he returned to open the new St. Patrick’s library last year he spoke about enduring ten o’clock curfews and the local pubs being strictly off limits during his time at the college.
Upon completion of his studies Enda spent four years teaching in a national school in his native Mayo. It was not long before he followed in the family political tradition.
His father, former all-Ireland winning footballer Henry Kenny, had been a Fine Gael TD since 1954. Henry died in 1975 and was succeeded by his son in a bye-election the same year.
For the next three decades Enda held a variety of roles both within government and opposition. Notable amongst these was his time as the Minister for Tourism and Trade between 1994 and 1997.
After his party’s disastrous showing in the 2002 general election Enda succeeded Michael Noonan as the leader of Fine Gael. He stayed on as leader after his party failed to unseat Fianna Fáil in the 2007 general election.
Kenny became Taoiseach in 2011 after leading Fine Gael to winning the largest number of seats in its history. He is currently the longest serving TD who is still sitting.
Before becoming a Fine Gael TD, Helen studied Economics, Politics and Law in 2004. The 29 year old from Navan, co. Meath looks back fondly on her time:
“I absolutely loved DCU. It’s tough going to college from a school in the country. But the friendliness and closeness of the college made it easier.”
She helped resurrect and chaired Young Fine Gael which had been stagnant for the past few years.
During this time, her father Shane McEntee ran in the Meath by-election and was elected into to the 29th Dail in 2005.
Shane’s strong community ties and his campaigning for homeowners whose houses were ruined by pyrite made him a popular politician in Meath.
In 2013, a 26 year-old Helen decided to run in the by-election caused by Shane’s tragic death.
Helen had worked in her father’s office for three years prior to his death, a time that allowed her to see the life of an opposition TD who then became a junior minister.
“There’s a big difference between studying politics and actual politics itself. It’s not until you immerse yourslf in an office or campaigh that you know. What actually prepared was being able to engage with people and communicate.”
Helen was active in the Yes campaign. She will focus on issues such as improving broadband and telecoms. She also wants focus on young home-owners in mortgorage arrears who were pushed to buy a house during the boom years.