Ladies and gentlemen:
During the last century, Irish men and women have fought to make Ireland free and independent. Like those who came before us, we must demonstrate the strength and resilience required to make difficult choices that will improve peoples’ social and economic lives.
To meet the challenges we face as a nation, we must adopt a strategic plan that spends our money wisely. This is particularly important in the case of water charges. Every resident is already responsible for the cost of water through taxes and other indirect charges. Now we are to pay a third time so our government can outsource their responsibility for providing high-quality, safe drinking water to a profit-driven third party? A material as vital as water should be affordable to every family in this great country and should not be surrendered to the unknown intentions of a corporate entity. When these basic expectations are no longer met, I say something must change!
But it isn’t just water charges or the government’s absolution of basic responsibilities that have grown out of control. The entire government budget should be in the hands of people we can trust. When we run our businesses or pay our taxes, an exact accounting of what we earn and what we spend is expected. Why should our government run its affairs differently? Annual reporting, accountability and transparency from our government—these are my demands and they should be yours as well.
It seems to me that these problems are mere symptoms of a larger crisis: the corruption of party politics. When career politicians decide that advancing their partisan political agenda and clinging to power is more important than serving the public and improving the lot of the people who work day and night in this country and pay taxes in this country, to provide social parity in this country, it becomes our responsibility to end the corruption by sending these people a message on Election Day: “your service is no longer required.”
Luckily, the good Irish men and women who fought to make Ireland free left us a method for sending that message. In this great Republic, we choose our own leaders. When those leaders are not serving in the public interest, or have become corrupt, we choose to send them away. We choose to replace them with leaders who respond to public demands and represent public goals. And today, I am asking you to choose me to represent you. I am asking for your vote in the coming election. I do not support extreme philosophies, nor do I support programs that have no real bearing on peoples’ everyday lives. I do support providing for the basic needs of the hard-working people of this country. To prove that my interests are sincere, I will provide 10,000 Euros from my annual salary to support local clubs, groups and organizations that will create opportunity for the people of our community.
When you consider who you will support in the coming election, remember what I said to you today. Remember that you have a choice, and you have a chance. A chance to reverse the dark course our current “leaders” are plotting, and a chance to right the ship of state before it is too late. I appreciate your support, and I ask for your vote.
Paul Clarke, Independent