POLICIES

I support true EQUALITY FOR WOMEN in all and every respect – healthcare, employment, equality of opportunity. I would work toward a society free of discrimination against women and an end to the gender pay gap, ridiculous in the 21st century!

Ireland’s history shows us that suppression of women’s freedom and control of their bodily autonomy, alongside stigma, shame and fear around women’s sexuality, led to a system of Magdalene Laundries.

I’m PRO-CHOICE. Incoming Senators in the Seanad 2020 Election will be part of the three year review of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, thus it is important that these senators are able to deal effectively with abortion healthcare provision in Ireland. The Referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment has been passed; provision needs now be made for an effective and functional service in Ireland.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion should be more than political buzzwords!
I’m lobbying for INCLUSIVITY in Irish society and to have social systems that treat every person with equivalent consideration, to have a government that broadly considers the impact of proposed legislation on poor people, the sick, the marginalised, the disabled. Ireland should be a place where there is political and social inclusion of all people irrespective of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, origin, religion, class background, or economic status. I’m for a society that accepts difference and diversity, one where no-one is living in isolation or feeling lonely or afraid. Ireland has always thrived on a strong sense of COMMUNITY – let’s not lose that!

I’m for a HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEM THAT CATERS TO MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH, where people’s needs are met, where they are listened to and comforted and given real help. Emotional distress is part of life and things can easily overwhelm us — sometimes people just need a helping hand and kindness. I would promote mental healthcare that is holistic and person-centred rather than an over-reliance on medication, or tablets being the first “answer” for emotional problems. I would call for an end to forced medication and to so-called “therapies” like Electroshock. Let’s end the stigma around mental health issues.

I care deeply about the ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE. Natural heritage such as our hedgerows, some of which are 500-years old, should be preserved. Ireland’s biodiversity should be maintained, its geology and habitats of unique plants and animals. Efforts must be made to protect endangered species such as the Red Squirrel, Corncrake, and the Barn Owl. I would like to introduce programmes for schoolchildren to learn about Ireland’s flora and fauna and to go on woodland trails to learn how to identify different trees, plants and animals.

ANIMAL WELFARE is important to me and I would lobby to introduce further measures to prevent animal cruelty as well as ensure that laws already in place are properly implemented. I would like to see a system for animal rescue introduced that is government-run with a helpline and not leave this to charities with over-stretched resources. I support a total ban (no exemptions) on blood sports (including fox hunting and hare coursing). I support the introduction of legislation that properly protects wildlife and prevents the persecution of wild animals or birds and ensures the protection of their habitats.

Ireland’s BUILT HERITAGE must be protected too. The destruction caused by the building of the M3 Motorway at the Hill of Tara must never be repeated. These sites are ancient and unique and of spiritual, cultural and historical significance; once they are damaged or gone, it can’t be undone.

Ireland’s beautiful landscape with its coastline, mountains, rivers, and green fields is marketed well to tourists but more eduactional initiatives will help safeguard our ‘Emerald Isle’ for the future. People’s relationship with the land they live on is important for HEALTH, SPIRITUALITY AND CONNECTION.

ART & CREATIVITY are crucial to a functioning, healthy society. Literature, painting, music, dance, sculpture, festivals and crafts add vibrancy to cultural and social life. These cultural forms are important as vehicles for self expression, for community cohesion, for collective memory and remembrance. Further funding, and sustained funding, is needed for the Arts in Ireland.

EDUCATION is central to my campaign. I’m an experienced educator and have worked in academia as a University Lecturer for over 18 years. Education and knowledge extend far beyond academia, of course, and not all knowledge is academic; I would promote skills training of all kinds as well as programmes for schoolchildren and others to enable them to engage with Ireland’s natural and built heritage, folklore, and cultural traditions. Ireland is renowned as a land of storytellers and songs, language, and sense of place is important. As a Cultural Heritage specialist, I understand well how traditions are tied to place, stories to the land, people to the places.

Education is not just of value for one’s career path but for self realization and (lifelong) personal development and growth.

As a teacher, I’m aware of the necessity for a fully funded education system at all levels. Fees are a barrier at third level and the grant system needs reform so that it is fair and empowers students to live independently and to break free of poverty.

I’m concerned at the insidious rise of racism and xenophobia in Irish society. As a scholar who has studied cultural processes and national identities for almost twenty years, I can identify the mechanisms by which people are made to be “the Other”, which results in the “Us Vs Them” attitude. In relation to asylum seekers and refugees, it’s crucial to never lose sight of humanity – these people are fleeing horrendous situations of war that weren’t of their making and searching for someone to help them. I would lobby for the ABOLITION OF DIRECT PROVISION, a cruel and unnecessary system; asylum seekers can be housed and cared for in accordance with international law without any mistreatment or degradation.

I’m for a more EMPATHIC AND CARING SOCIETY including:
– Justice for all survivors of institutional abuse in terms of recognition, compensation and remembrance. There should be review of the Retention of Records Bill 2019; Ireland has a dark past and these horrors did occur. It will only cause further trauma to survivors and Irish society as a whole to try to cover these things up or ignore them or push things away into the future with sealed documents. Acknowledgement of what happened is important for healing and moving forward… and so that it never is allowed to happen again.

HOUSING is a key issue for Ireland with an ongoing homelessness crisis and rental crisis. The root causes of the housing crisis need to be tackled. Much more support is needed for families and individuals to find appropriate, affordable housing. More social housing is required and a rental freeze until there is a return to an equitable housing market.

CLIMATE ACTION & SUSTAINABLE LIVING is important in our global society and Ireland needs to do its share. Increased recycling facilities are needed in Ireland, especially in rural locations. Public policy should encourage people to make changes and not penalise them; recycling bin charges should be abolished. Austerity measures engender hate and resentment in the populace. I believe that incentives work better and HOPE FOR A BETTER FUTURE with clean air and water, high quality organic food produce, and sustainable transport and waste management.

I’m for SEANAD REFORM and I’ve signed the Seanad Reform Pledge 2020. I believe that an inclusive and diverse society has to be led by inclusive and diverse representatives and I would like to see an end to elitism in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Please elect Senators, like me, who genuinely want to bring about change for the better in Irish society! VOTE #1 JENNY BUTLER!