Monday, 2 March 2009

Guest Post - Jane Horgan-Jones

As part of a new series of occasional guest posts, I am asking members of our campaign to let the readers of this blog know about their motivation for involvement, the work they do and the hopes they have for our campaign for community and change.

This week's guest blog post is from Jane Horgan-Jones, Labour Youth's National Education Officer and a comrade of mine for many years from our time in UCD Students' Union (for which she poses, right!) and the Labour Party to the present day.

My name is Jane Horgan-Jones and I am a Labour Youth activist from Clontarf, in Dublin. I also serve on the National Youth Executive as Education and Policy Development Officer. I am involved in Dermot Looney’s election campaign in Greenhills because I believe that Dermot is the only candidate with the vision, values and political experience to make a real change to the local council if elected next June.

I have known Dermot Looney since 2004 when we were both undergraduate students in UCD. Dermot was chair of the UCD Labour branch at the time and recruited me into the party. During his time as chair, I knew him to be a committed, articulate and passionate activist, overseeing an exponential increase in the level of campaigning activity in the branch which resulted in a corresponding increase in membership numbers and established the UCD Branch as one of the biggest and most active party branches in the country.

Nationally, his contribution to Labour Youth was also hugely significant, particularly during his term as Communications Officer, when he oversaw the production of the national youth publication, the “Left Tribune”.

Dermot’s selection to contest the Tallaght Central ward in the June elections for the Labour Party came as no surprise and I feel that the success of candidates like Dermot in those elections is the only way Labour will succeed in breaking the mold of civil war politics in Ireland and becoming a real third option for the electorate, offering as he does a clear vision of socialist and social democratic values for a society that has been long maligned and stymied by the influences of the neo liberal agenda and big business in the form of the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties.

Both nationally and locally, Dermot is a candidate whose work ethic and commitment to getting the job done has yielded substantial results for the cause of social justice. His leading involvement in anti-racism campaigns and campaigns for worker’s rights such as the Joanne Delaney campaign, coupled with his work on the ground for local people on day to day issues such as class sizes and housing issues has clearly established him as an activist of the highest calibre and someone in whom the local communitywill find an excellent public representative.

The country has found itself at a crossroads both economically and socially, and it is essential that candidates like Dermot, who have a clear vision for national affairs as well as ability to resolve local issues that present themselves, are returned next June.

As one of the youngest candidates contesting the local elections in June, it is not surprising that Dermot’s campaign has drawn considerable support from young people in the area, who have come out to canvass and leaflet consistently over the past few months. Being involved in this campaign is an opportunity to effect change in this country first-hand and engage with other like-minded young activists involved in a grassroots campaign for change and social justice. We are always looking for new people to get involved – just drop the campaign an email or text if you’d like to help out!