Irish Socialist Network - John O Neill
Q & A with Dublin North West Irish Socialist Network candidate John O'Neill
Name John O Neill Address19 Fairways Grove, Finglas East, Dublin 11 Date of birth 16th February 1962 Constituency Dublin North West
Party The Irish Socialist Network
Income (aside from income derived from political office):
€30,000 - €40,000
Approximate net worth of capital assets aside from family residence:
Information on political career to date:
I am a long standing left-wing and community activist. I am a member of the Irish Socialist Network, a small democratic participatory socialist organisation. In the 2004 local election I received 6% of the vote in Finglas Ward beating the Green Party and PD candidates. I was imprisoned in Mountjoy for a fortnight along with eight other Finglas residents for defying court a High Court injunction against direct action by anti-bin tax campaigners. With others I have been active in many local campaigns including the restoration of bus routes, workers rights, community based anti-racism campaigning etc.
Personal election manifesto:
The interests of workers cannot be served by those who represent the interests of the wealthy. The transformation of society so that working people control all aspects of their workplace and communities can only be achieved by struggle from below. This is also true of immediate changes such as the demand for a massive programme of social housing construction, an end to the two tier health system and real equality in education. I oppose the cynical attempts by politicians to divide workers along the lines of nationality/race and I believe that all workers, immigrant and Irish, have the same class interest. I oppose social partnership because it has benefited the bosses far more than the workers, in its place I support the building of campaigning, member-controlled fighting unions. Unlike many on the left I reject the idea of an elite leading workers to socialism, be it the Blairite version of a parliamentary party or the Leninist version of a vanguard party. Only bottom-up organisation by working people themselves can bring about real and lasting change.
Why should voters in your constituency vote for you rather than for other candidates, including candidates representing the political party which you represent?
I am the only unambiguously anti-capitalist candidate standing in the constituency. My sole purpose in standing in election is to encourage working people to organise collectively to tackle the issues that affect them rather than relying on politicians to deliver changes that never come. I reject the pro-rich politics of the right wing parties and the milk and water coalition touting Labour, the Greens and Sinn Fein. I oppose any role by Ireland in the so-called ‘War on Terror' and want to see an immediate end to the use of Shannon airport by the US military and their allies. As a socialist I am opposed to imperialism, dictatorship and fundamentalism of all types and I support the struggle of all those struggling against occupation and oppression.
What do you consider to be the main election issues in your constituency?
Health, Housing, Crime, and Taxation.
Where do you stand in relation to these constituency issues?
Housing: Very little social housing has been built in Dublin North West in recent years despite the obvious need. The developer's profits always come before the housing needs of young families. A campaign is needed to organise families on the housing list to demand the prioritisation of properly planned social housing in the area.
Crime: In relation to anti-social behaviour it has been proven in other jurisdictions (New Zealand etc.) that community run restorative justice projects reduce crime, put victims first and divert young people from a life of crime. It is also true that garda corruption and anti-working class bias is a serious problem. In the long run the only comprehensive answer to crime is to ensure that all communities have proper youth facilities and services.
Taxation: I oppose all double/stealth taxes including the bin tax and proposed water tax. The only fair form of taxation is progressive income tax, where the rich pay their fair share.
Health: Equal treatment for all citizens is a right. Patients should be treated according to how sick they are, not the size of their wallet. The best way to run a health service is democratic control by patients, their families, health workers and local communities not bureaucrats/politicians. The state should cease to subsidize private health-care immediately and use the finance saved to build a first class public health service for all.
How much money do you expect to spend in the election campaign?
What will be the sources of this finance?
The donations of ordinary members and supporters of the Irish Socialist Network will be the main source. Most ISN members donate a regular amount from their wages to the organization on a monthly basis. I will probably also hold a social night/fundraiser in Finglas.