My priorities include advancing human rights and supporting the education sector across a range of issues.
The major part of my life here has been as an advocate with and for those of us who have been excluded from freedoms and human rights, whether it is through poverty, gender, sexual identity, racial and ethnic origins or any other form of difference. If, as I believe unflinchingly, a society of equals in Ireland will only be established by mutually respecting diversity and difference, then I bring a sense of urgency to my position in Seanad Eireann to ensure that law is passed that accepts and normalises diversity.
Some of my priorities will be to ensure that Ireland does not lose our Social Sovereignty, namely, the social wealth that has been created over the last number of years by actors within the social, community and voluntary sectors. I will bring this perspective to bear in my work as a member of the Joint Committee on Finance and Public Expenditure.
I am also a member of the recently established Senad Public Consultation Committee. The Committee's first consultation was on the rights of older people: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/www.oireachtas/committees/committees-list/public-consultation-seanad
I hope to lend my experience and insight to the discussion around the radical changes taking place in the education sector especially in the wake of Fás and the foundation of SOLAS. I would hope to make a valuable contribution to developments in the adult, early years, further education and community education sectors.
I am keen also to progress just laws on Immigration and Residence, Social Welfare, Gender Recognition and Equality, prostitution and human trafficking and of course, marriage equality. On a very personal note, as a member of the LGBT community, I am immensely encouraged by my appointment. I think the fact that the two top leaders of our country agreed to appoint me to become a lawmaker is a huge statement and it gives me a lot of hope.