I’ve just finished reading Senator Lynn Ruane’s book, People Like Me and found it at the same time harrowing and uplifting.

She tells her story of growing up in Tallaght, ending up on drugs, and being told as a teenager that she had wasted her life. Our current political and social system leaves so many of our neighbours in this city in multi- generational deprivation and at the hands of exploitation by on the one hand drug dealers and rackrenting landlords, while on the other hand excusing the cutting of essential health and social care services, on the basis that we need to keep businesses happy.

It’s great that Lynn has managed to find a way into the Seanad, and some basic comfort and security for her family. But we all need to fight to change the city that leaves so many young people out in the cold with no options and no future.

This has always been one of the reasons I have been in politics, and green politics at that.

Fighting for the environment means fighting for people living in that environment, and that means everybody. We can’t fight climate change if some of us are fighting to put one foot in front of another and look after those we care about. The effects of climate change are also most severe felt by those who have the least, whether they are in the global south or right here in our city.

Furthermore, inequality affects us all, even those of us who through luck (because it very much is that) have had the fortune of having a full education and steady employment. (The equality trust explain this is more detail here.)

I’m going to continue fighting for Green Party ideas, such as a universal basic income, the decriminalisation of drug users (and legalisation of drugs,) more affordable housing (through massive adaption of cost rental on public lands) and proper funding and support of the social and voluntary sector. We also need to change Irish society so that you don’t have to own a car to work, or get anywhere.

Read the book and come join me!