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Meet the Candidate: Richard Terry, Social Democrats

About Me

Richard lives in Passage West as a stay-at-home Dad to his young daughter. He has been involved in education for fifteen years, teaching Maths, History and Applied Maths, serving on his school’s board of management, and advocating for teachers and students as a committed trade unionist.


Journey to Politics

I’ve never been aligned to any party, I usually voted based on the individual candidate. But seeing the decay of our public spaces, the effect of the housing crisis on everyone’s quality of life, the loss of yet another generation of young people to emigration, and frustrated by a lack of commitment to tackling these problems by government parties, I was compelled to get more politically active. I joined the Social Democrats because, as a new party, they’re not trapped by dogma and tradition, and I was impressed by the sincerity of their public representatives.

When the opportunity to running as the SocDem candidate came up, I couldn’t pass on this chance to advocate for the changes I believe our county needs.


On Housing & Dereliction:

The lack of housing has a profound influence on people’s quality of life. People are emigrating to escape the Irish housing market. This leaves our schools, hospitals, childcare facilities, Garda stations and services understaffed. Young people feel stuck in their family homes, delaying starting a family of their own. The cost of housing is soaking up people’s discretionary spending, sucking money out of the local economy, making it harder for local business to survive and thrive. Vacancy and dereliction are spoiling our public spaces. Empty properties and empty upstairs apartments leave our town centres deserted after business hours, making them less safe.

It’s a national problem, but we don’t have to wait for a national solution, a significant impact on the issue can be made through our local government. Through compulsory purchase of derelict sites, through enforcement of vacancy levies, through Vacant Property Refurbishment Grants and through the Repair and Lease Scheme. These options already exist, but Cork County Council lags behind other authorities in making the most of them. Limerick Council has CPO’d over 250 derelict properties since 2018. In Social Housing too, other local authorities have set a blueprint for for Cork to follow. The average time to relet social housing in Cork is nearly 50 weeks, whereas in Wexford it’s 11.5 weeks. There isn’t a lack of solutions, there’s a lack of will to implement them.


On Childcare:

Childcare is a major source of stress for families. There are insufficient childcare spaces to meet demand, even in estates where new childcare services were part of the planning. Parents looking for less than full-time childcare struggle to secure the childcare that suits their needs, whether its Early Childhood Care and Education hours only, or just for certain days of the week, or intermittent child minding. And the cost of childcare is such that it often almost wipes out the benefit of both parents working anyway. So parents are reliant on grandparents to fill the childcare gap, if they’re fortunate enough to have that support available to them.

Better planning around Childcare must be part of all zoning and planning permission decisions and the provision of appropriate childcare services must be a prioritised in future Local and Economic Community Plans. And, again, staffing issues driven by the housing crisis and unreliable public transport make it difficult for creches to cater for the demand. To find a lasting solution we need to deal with the root causes of the problem.


On Maintaining Public Spaces

Many of our public spaces, our streets, town centres and estates, are looking tired. Things are fresh and new when their built, but they’re often not sufficiently cared for afterwards. Our wet climate takes its toll on our roads, paths, buildings and amenities, and we need to recognise that and commit the resources necessary to maintain them. For the sake of safety, but also for the sake of having public spaces that are nicer to be in.

Developers who fail to maintain estates under their responsibility must be held accountable. As must those developers who fail to deliver the amenities that they promised when they secured planning. We need to work better with our environment and work to protect it. If you build on a flood plain, houses will flood, if you replace green spaces with tarmac, surface water flows instead of soaking away. During hot summers it makes urban environments less bearable. If we cut down trees and don’t plant new ones, we lose the shade they provide. We need to take care of the environment that takes care of us.



Why you should vote for me?

I believe we need to tackle problems at the root, while still alleviating the immediate effects of that problem. Increased Garda numbers won’t solve anti-social behaviour, unless we also invest in amenities for young people. Adding another lane to a road won’t ease the gridlock unless we also invest in public transport that people can rely on. We need public representatives that look for comprehensive, evidence based solutions to the problems we face, not just headline grabbing ones.

I believe the sum of small changes, thoughtful decisions, can accumulate and have a profound impact on our quality of life. I believe a community is built and shaped by its environment. If we live in an environment that’s uninviting to be in, that we avoid spending too much time in, we miss the small interactions that are the seeds of common bonds. Our environment keeps people apart. But, if we have an environment that’s pleasant to be in, with amenities to share, locally owned hospitality, and events to attend, an environment that brings people together; then paths cross, community builds. We deserve a public space worth sharing, and that’s the kind of public space I want to fight for.

I believe it’s time for change, and if you want change, you must get out and vote for it.


Richard can be contacted by email at and on instagram @richardterrysocdems


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