Tallaght's Youth Saying "Yes We Can" to Change: Labour candidate Looney
Dermot Looney, the Labour Party candidate in Tallaght Central for next year's local election, has said that Barack Obama's victory in the US Presidential election has given a huge boost to local young people who are demanding real political change. Looney, who worked on the Obama campaign in Virginia, was speaking after accepting a donation from Labour Youth at their annual conference in Limerick on November 8th.
Looney, the youngest candidate in the county yet declared at 26, has been a leading light in various student and youth campaigns over a number of years and has led the rejuvenation of Labour Youth in Dublin South West since joining the party in 2003.
A former Development Officer of UCD Students' Union, Looney is now working with students in Tallaght IT and young people across Tallaght, Greenhills and Templeogue in building a local Labour Youth organisation to campaign for what he has termed 'the real alternative' for the local area.
One of the key tools in their campaign is the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, a method used to great success in the recent US election, which has already attracted 250 local people to Looney's campaign group.
"I was lucky enough to spend a few days working on the Obama campaign in Virginia just prior to the election," Looney told the conference. "The inspiration and ideas generated by that campaign have resonated across the world, including the huge support and goodwill shown towards Obama by young people here at home."
"The model promoted by the Obama campaign can't be copied in an entirely different political landscape. But young people across Ireland who are desperate for real change have been inspired by the message of hope shining through in dark times."
"As well as being fired up by the idealism within the Obama campaign, young people are also looking for the change we need here at home – the change we need to break the politics of a long-gone Civil War, and the change we need in the issues which matter most to young people – jobs, education, health and housing."
Looney received a donation of €1,000 towards his campaign from Labour Youth's fundraising efforts at the Limerick conference, and asked the delegates to be positive about the change Labour's new generation can affect across Ireland. "Yes we can change Ireland and change the world. But the change we need begins here at home, and here in Tallaght Central we want to build on our success as the youngest election campaign in Ireland by growing our organisation and winning for ordinary people across the generations."
Looney, who will speak at an anti-fees meeting organised by IT Tallaght Labour in early December, has encouraged secondary school and college students, young workers and all local people under 26 to join with Labour Youth, which has seen its numbers boosted considerably in the recent economic and political tumult.