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2019 Elections: Catriona Reid – Green Party Candidate

Writes Ciaran Dineen

We at The Carrigdhoun Newspaper are currently interviewing candidates that have been ratified by their party (Or Indepdendents), to run for the Local Election in 2019 in both the Carrigaline Local Electoral Area and the Bandon-Kinsale Electoral Area. We welcome anyone who is interested to contact us on 021-4373557. To express your views, write to us or tweet us using the hashtag #CarrigdhounLE19

This coming May, 19-year old Catriona Reid will contest the 2019 Local Elections in the Carrigaline LEA for the Green Party. Born in Romania, Catriona moved to Ireland when she was five, along with her Scottish father and Romanian mother.

She enrolled in St Mary’s National School in Carrigaline, but found the experience very challenging. According to the Green Party candidate, she suffered a lot of bullying during her early school years and this made her feel quite socially isolated. Although she did enter the first year of secondary school in Carrigaline Community School, after a couple of weeks she knew that it wasn’t for her.

From there, Catriona and her parents came to the decision that home-schooling was the best option. For four years the teenager stayed at home where she “built her confidence back up”, and spent most of her time reading and writing. In 2017 she then entered fifth year in Coláiste Muire, Crosshaven, and is currently studying for her Leaving Certificate exams which take place in June.

Journey to Politics:

The rise of Nigel Farage prior to the 2015 General Elections in Britain was Reid’s first introduction to the political scene. Comments made by Farage in relation to his concern if a group of Romanian immigrants moved in “next door”, enraged Caitriona and thereafter she became engaged with the political process.

After following British politics for a brief period, Catriona became more focused on Ireland and local issues in her community. She first encountered the Green Party during the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015, and subsequently went to meetings around Cork. 2016 had been the most significant year for Catriona however, as she became very active during the Incinerator debacle involving CHASE and Indaver.

During the An Bord Pleanála oral hearings in Carrigaline Court Hotel, Reid took an account of everything that was said at the meetings. She would then post a daily blog of the events and later published a book purely based on what was said and heard. She campaigned vigorously against the decision to grant permission for the incinerator and her position on that remains the same to date.

Throughout this time Catriona has remained a member of the Green Party, whom she approached towards the end of last year, seeking permission to run as a candidate in the Carrigaline Local Electoral Area. “I really wanted to give the people of Carrigaline and beyond a chance to vote Green if they wanted to”, Catriona tells The Carrigdhoun. “I felt that if there wasn’t a candidate then people would be disappointed, and I would have been disappointed myself”, she continues.

Positioning On Local Issues:

One of the problems that some people have with the Green Party is that they are not a local-orientated party and that their primary aims are nationally focused. In response to a question on how she would interact with councillors and the public on local issues, Catriona says, “I’m quite a constructive person and I try and work together with people for a consensus. I find that if we talk enough about things that we can then find a solution. It may be a long way around getting something solved but I think it’s probably the best way to do it. So what can I bring to the table? Well obviously a young person’s voice but also the voice of a foreign national.”  

On Issues Facing Foreign Nationals:

According to Catriona, there are many struggles that migrants face when they come to another country, the key one being the language-barrier, which is something that herself and her mother had to overcome when they arrived in Carrigaline. “I would really like to see Government websites introduce more languages on their pages, Polish, Russian, Romanian etc. I think that people feel isolated and it’s important to make them feel welcome”, Reid says. “There are so many foreign nationals that live here and I would like to be a voice for them”, she continues.

On Issues Facing Young People:

Caitriona says, “I think top of the list is mental health without a doubt. I have quite a few friends who have had problems with their own mental health, brought on by school pressures. I know that I can’t uproot the system, I’m just one person but setting up state-funded counselling services, especially for young people would be a priority.”

On Space And Sustainability:

I have a big concern in relation to facilities. We have the houses in Janeville now and more to come. The population is continuing to increase and that does concern me because it’s not sustainable when you only have one high-street. Carrigaline is very central and aside from what we have on that one street, there’s very little anywhere else. Traffic is another big issue and I think Irish people are too dependent on their cars. When you have single people in single cars, all going on their journeys to work, it just doesn’t make sense and therefore I would be advocating the promotion of carpooling. I think it would be great to establish a car park just for people that would carpool and maybe that would be an incentive.”

Over the next few months Catriona will look to balance canvassing with studying for her exams. It is sure to be a frantic period for the 19 year-old. You can contact Catriona via email at catriona.reid@greenparty.ie if you have any queries about her campaign.

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