Friday 1 December 2006

Success (I think)!

I candidly admit I am not a techie (at all) and so feel a sense of serious achievement at having set up this blog account. But what now?

My techie friends have told me that blogging is the latest, simplest and possibly most effective way of talking with busy people today. And, since talking is the stock in trade of a politician I thought I would check out how accurate their opinions are. So over the next couple of months I will be launching my views and opinions on matters great and small into cyberspace and looking for reactions, suggestions and criticisms (constructive preferably) as I go along.

But I am getting ahead of myself already. For those (5.6 billion or so) who don't know me, my name is Derek McDowell. I was brought up with my 3 brothers in Donnycarney and attended the local primary (Scoil Mhuire CBS) and secondary (Ard Scoil Ris CBS) schools. I went to UCD where I qualified as a solicitor but for most of my adult life I have been involved in politics - 10 years as a TD and Councillor and the last 4 as a Senator. Along the way I did manage to persuade my wife Vikki to marry me, a state we have happily occupied since.

Currently I am the Labour Party candidate to contest a seat as a TD at the next General Election in the Constituency of Dublin North-Central. This is proving a most interesting challenge in that local population decline has resulted in this area reducing from 4-seat constituency to 3 seats. It is also a challenge in that historically this constituency has tended not to follow the normal voting trend in the wider Dublin region but has consistently shown a more conservative outlook. So a really tight contest is brewing - more of which anon.

But in the meantime I hope to give my views and have your response to what's happening on local issues around transport, traffic, schools, hospitals and new developments; on national issues around the economy, spending, taxes, housing, energy, education and health; and on wider European and global issues around immigration, integration, climate change and the role we play internationally. But the most important issue I see going forward is the debate, only happening now in fits and starts, about what we want not just as individuals but as a society. What are our collective values now? What would we like them to be in a country increasing in diversity? How do we go about getting there?

I will leave it there for now but before I go could I draw your attention to two interesting happenings this week (its the politician in me!).

On Friday the public consultation on the Government's Green Paper on energy (describing the issues and possible solutions around our future energy needs) will close - although I am sure the Department will accept a late entry if you feel inclined to comment (see here ). This outlines what energy policy should be to 2020 but without ever asking how we might address the pressing need to drastically cut our emissions of carbon dioxide (the global warming gas). Also this week the EU Commission decided to reject Ireland's plan to cap industry's carbon dioxide emissions - not because industry was being asked to do too little but because the Government was doing nothing! (see here ). Government incompetence, arrogance and lack of joined up thinking, on what Al Gore, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Angela Merkle and a host of others have called the most serious threat facing the globe, is going to cost us money and jobs (lots of both). In the long term it could cost us the planet - but hey does anyone in Government care?

Talk to you next week (assuming I remember how to get back in)