This thread is for the user representatives to introduce themselves as much as they feel comfortable doing so that our readers can know who is posing the questions.
I'll kick off:
My name is Tom Murphy, though ironically thats probably MORE anonymous than "DeVore". I have no particular political persuasion beyond agreeing with Skunk Anansie that "Everything is Political".
Beyond some campaigning for civil rights, I have not been politically active because by and large the Dail had little impact on my life and I felt it was polite to return the favour. That, has recently changed.
I am an entrepreneur, a director and founder of Boards.ie and an employer both in this company and in others.
I believe in the greater social good through individual charitable acts, the right to self determination both privately and as nation.
There you go!
I live in Dublin and am self employed with one employee in language services. I emigrated for 15 years and was heavily involved in community politics and community action groups in both France and Germany. I have also worked in developing countries for some time both for myself and as a finance controller for some organisations such as UNICEF, UNESCO and the Red Cross.
Politically am a Social Democrat, the Nordic System is not perfect but is in my experience the best that exists on the planet. Have always had a very heavy leaning towards ethics and environmental issues. Not an environmenal fanatic, more of a pragmatist.
I have voted 1. Green 2. Labour in the past couple of local and general elections but am by no means a rock steady Green Party or Labour voter.
I have generally been disappointed with their performance in government.
I don't know Paul Gogarty personally, I met him twice on a community issue, but I do know some friends of his from his school and college years, some of whom are still in touch with him, some who are not.
I'm Terry and I'm the jackass of the group.
Every other person given the opportunity to question you will have impressive credentials. I have none.
I expect full disclosure from you, Minister Gogarty, so, as a matter of respect, I will fully disclose my history to you .
I have been arrested several time over the years.
I have committed a few crimes, but I do not have a criminal record. All of my crimes have been civil matters.
I currently have a warrant out for my arrest. This is relating to a crime committed by me in January of 2009. I was ordered to pay €400 in compensation. When the time came to pay the money, I didn't have it.
Next week I will turn myself into the Gardaí in Leixlip and will be taken to the court in Blanchardstown.
It's a 50/50 chance on whether I will have the €400 or not.
If I don't, then I will face prison.
Meh. I broke the law. I knew the consequences of my actions. I'm willing to take my punishment, whether it is paying the €400 or going to jail for not paying it.
If I can get the money, then I'll pay it. If not, then I'll do the time.
The joys of suffering from agorophobia and not being able to hold down a full time job.
Going by my frank admission there, you may think that I've right wing leanings, whilst trying to excuse my own criminal past. You would be wrong. I'm neither right or left. I just call things as I see them.
If you were to put me in a political specturm, I'd be a truthist (I claim credit for inventing that word).
I tell the truth. I answer yes or no questions with yes or no answers. Will you do the same thing?
I was born and raised in the US, but I've spent the better part of the last two years in Europe researching social and political change in the newly wealthy (and now not so wealthy) countries of the EU, the so-called "PIGS". I've occasionally written about US and European politics, but mainly for an academic audience. My specific interests are political participation, immigration, and citizenship.
When I lived in the US, I was deeply involved in both Democratic Party and trade union politics. Familiarity breeds contempt, so I've drifted out of this universe over the last few years.
Before my career as a professional rabble-rouser, I had a brief stint in law and a brief(er) stint in investment banking. Before that, I worked my way through college as an after school counselor in an environment that could best be described as something out of "The Wire".
I grew up on the south side of Chicago (hence the user name), and spent about a third of my adult life in Washington DC, so I've seen the best and worst of what politics has to offer. I guess my political persuasion could be summed up as "practical Midwesterner", which by European standards would put me center/center-right. That said, I am a bit of a euro-skeptic.
I'm looking forward to a lively discussion.
I'm a not long out of college civil engineer and like most of what remains of my profession in Ireland, I'm currently unemployed. The last time I worked was in early 2009 until the government contract I was working on was cancelled and our department was made redundant. I then took the opportunity to see some of the world and reskill with a postgraduate qualification which I've just finished. I expect to emigrate to the UK, Canada or Australia in the next two months.
Politically, I'm firmly in the centre, however I've never voted in an Irish election. (This has always been due to circumstances beyond my control). My post history here would suggest that I'm a strong supporter of the current government, which isn't exactly true and I'm very critical of the planning process (far too lax).
To sum up my opinion on the current government performance, I believe they have handled the financial crisis in an ok manner. This doesn't detract that I believe the crisis was a lot of their own making. I do not believe an election is in the national interest at the moment due to the uncertainty in the markets it would cause, but would like to see one when we have a couple of quarters of growth under the belt.
Hi, I am Paul Gogarty, a TD for Dublin Mid West. I am from the Lucan/Palmerstown area, am married with two young children.
I have been a member of the Green Party since 1989. I was first elected as a Councillor in 1999 and resigned that seat in opposition to the dual mandate in 2002, upon election to Dail Eireann. I have been a TD since that date.
My previous employment was in the field of business journalism, sub-editing and more latterly media consultancy. My other interests include singing/songwriting, reading, cinema and sports. I had a keen interest in astrology when I was younger and did the odd bit of work in this field.
I will endeavour to answer all questions honestly and to the best of my ability, although some technical questions I may not be able to answer fully without access to other information which may or may not be difficult to access on the day. If I can't, I will say so.
Thanks to everyone for participating in this experiment and thanks to De Vore for asking.
Hi all, I'm Dee - Joe Soap's other half and a mum of three. I have lived in Dublin for most of my life (apart from the States and the UK in the 1980's). I no longer am in employment mainly due to childcare (cost of it), but I've kept my sense of humour.
I have no agenda, I don't have a policital party I vote for - as I said they're all as bad as each other.
I won't be as articulate as the others here. I'd like to put basic questions forward and recieve basic answers - I just hope there's a forum to ask these questions.
That's really all about me.
Hi I am Paul. I am 41, married with one son. I am currently unemployed but have worked in the ICT industry for the last 16 years. In the last two years I have seen how the lack of credit in the market has strangled the SME side of my industry and that we have haemorrhaged jobs because of this.
In my past I was a member of the Labour party but tend to have migrated towards a more liberal political outlook as I have gotten older. I have been a politics mod and Soc Cat mod here on boards in the past.
I believe that the political system as it stands at the moment is no longer serving the people of this country and major changes have to be made to it to ensure that it is able to deliver the service that the citizens of Ireland deserve in the 21st century.
I'm the managing director of a mid-sized firm. I've got two kids at home, one just into college and the other in secondary. I've spent a lot of my career working outside of Ireland, in Europe and the US.
In politics I'm of course all about business creating jobs, and having the framework - education, tax and regulatory - to help stimulate that. But I'm very socially minded, and I believe that the state has a big role to play in helping those who are needy and in delivering a better future for our kids.
I believe that most of our problems in society are, when you boil them down, economic problems. Give people an education and a job and you solve a lot of your problems.
I'm also a big believer in transparent, efficient and accountable government. I believe that all but a fraction of government dealings should be completely transparent to the public. I believe that efficiency has been sacrificed in our government for the sake of keeping unions and other special interests happy. And I believe that very few politicians would ever fall on their sword or provide the kind of moral leadership the country needs.
I don't have a political affiliation, and funnily enough for a business guy I'd vote for people like Joe Higgins precisely because I believe that they provide leadership. Do as I do, not as I say. I believe the Green party used to talk big on ethics in politics, but they canned those beliefs in order to sit with Fianna Fail in government, and above all else that is why I would have a negative view of the party.
However, I respect Paul for coming on here to talk with people, and I hope to give him a fair shot to tell me, and all of us, why we shouldn't consign the Green party to the dustbin of Irish politics.
I am in my mid-thirties and currently live in west Donegal, where I was born and grew up. However, I've spent much of my adult life studying or working abroad in the USA, England, and Switzerland, which has given me the opportunity to compare Ireland's political system with those in other nations.
I've had a pretty varied work history. I am currently an independent investor, with affiliations to a hedge fund in the United States. I have previously been a consultant for a number of libertarian think-tanks in the USA, and have also taught English at third level in that country. I hold a doctorate in English literature from Princeton.
Politically, I am an Austrian School liberal who believes in robust civil rights, free markets, and laissez-faire economics. I have been deeply concerned over the past decade by the Irish government's reckless economic interventionism, both in encouraging unsustainable bubbles in construction and public expenditure, and in orchestrating a so-called "rescue" of the financial sector that is simply mind-boggling in its implications for the people of Ireland.
I am a member of the Libertarian Party in the United States, and a former member of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland.
To quote DeVore, I am a self employed professional in the services industry. It's interesting, but not unexpected, that a lot of others here are also self employed.
The main areas that I would like to ask you questions on are:
1) professional ethics in the dail
2) property market/home choice loan/nama/bailouts
3) self employed/new business difficulties
4) the green party generally.
I suppose in the spirit of full disclosure I should state why these issues are relevant to me:
1) I work in a profession where ethics are crucial. It is important that honesty and courtesy are maintained at all times, because if you are not honest and if you show disrespect to others, you lose all credibility.
2) I am a renter having never bought because in my view houses were overvalued (and still are). I was quite taken by the Green party manifesto in the last election, which stated that it was a Green policy to seek to reduce house prices to make them more afforadble. Contrary to this policy, the Greens have supported FF's attempts to prop up the property market, in particular the properties of their developer acquaintences (such was the subject of a complaint to the EU commission on the Home Choice Loan Saga)
3) It is my view that the self employed are put at a serious disadvantage in many ways in particular as regards PRSI/Social welfare and when starting up. This is crucial because it is government policy to foster enterprise and new industries, and many of today's largest companies e.g. Microsoft, started off with just a couple of people working on their own initiative.
4) By way of disclosure, I have voted Greens on the last two elections. I have attended a number of events hosted by the Green party including talks. I have met Minister Gormley and Minister Ryan, and also a "former" member of the Green party, on several occasions (neither of whom is my local TD). I can't see myself voting Greens next time round and, while I never say never, I can't see myself voting Greens. I can, however, see myself voting for a new Green party if the aforementioned "former" member should set one up. I have never been a card carrying member of a politicial party, and doubt I ever will.
Right, that's far more disclosure than I'm confortable with, I'm now going to see if I can ask a few questions about those issues.