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Kate O’Connell
Kate O’Connell
Fine Gael
Party 1


Incumbent : No

Main message to voters:

I believe my experience in the areas of health, business and enterprise development sets me apart from the other candidates. I decided to run because I was sick of waiting for "someone else" to try and change things - and because I think I have something different to offer the electorate.

Election history:

I ran for the first time in the local elections in 2014, to represent the Rathgar/Rathmines ward. Now I am contesting the general election in Dublin Bay South. Last year, I was the first Fine Gael Councillor elected in Ireland and I am currently the only FG woman on Dublin City Council.

Priorities:

  1. If both parents were allowed to share the standard maternity benefit, I believe we could make huge advances towards a more equal society for all.
  2. The eighth amendment is a very divisive issue, but I firmly believe it should be repealed for the safety and equality of Irish men and women.
  3. As a pharmacist I see a lot of drug use & addiction, which only intensifies as soon as someone gets a criminal conviction. I favour decriminalisation.

Candidate positions on the election issues:

Budget and taxes

What should the priority be in the next budget?

With a growing economy, government revenue is increasing. This can be put back into the economy in the form of tax cuts or increased spending on public services, or it can be used to reduce the national debt.
Prioritise increased spending on public services
Prioritise tax cuts
Prioritise reducing the national debt
None of the above
Comment:
"Fine Gael are committed to abolishing the USC if they are returned to government and I fully support this. "
1 of 22 questions

Should high earners pay more tax than they currently do?

There are two income tax rates: the standard rate of 20% applies to all income up to a certain amount (€33,800 for a single person); and the higher rate of 40%, applies to all income earned over that amount. The Universal Social Charge is also payable at different rates depending on income.
Yes, to reduce economic inequality high earners should pay more tax
No, high earners pay enough at present
No, to reward work high earners should pay less tax than they do now
None of the above
2 of 22 questions

Water

How should water be funded?

Currently, water charges are capped at €160 per year for households with one adult and €260 for households with more than one adult. Households with low water usage may get a rebate.
Water should be free at the point of use and funded through general taxation
The current policy (with capped charges per household) should be maintained
Households that use more water (above a set allowance) should pay more
None of the above
3 of 22 questions

Should water charges be boycotted?

Some political parties and groups have advocated a boycott of the water charges
Yes, water charges are wrong and should be boycotted
No, water charges are wrong, but we should obey the law and pay
No, water charges are necessary
None of the above
4 of 22 questions

Abortion

When should abortion be permitted?

Abortion is currently only permitted when the life of the mother is at risk (including risk of suicide). Legal abortions are rare; for example, there were 26 cases during 2014.
Only when the mother’s life is at risk from illness
Only when the mother’s life is at risk from illness or suicide (the current position)
When the mother’s life is at risk and in certain other cases such as rape and fatal foetal abnormality
Abortion should be freely available up to a certain number of weeks in a pregnancy
None of the above
5 of 22 questions

Should there be a referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution?

The 8th Amendment introduced a constitutional ban on abortion by acknowledging the right to life of the unborn (with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother).
Yes, the 8th Amendment should be repealed
There should be a referendum, but I would vote to defend the 8th Amendment
No, there should not be a referendum on the 8th Amendment
None of the above
6 of 22 questions

Wages and employment

Should the minimum wage be increased?

The minimum wage has recently been raised to €9.15 per hour.
Yes, the minimum wage should be increased further
No, it is high enough; further increases could mean fewer jobs
No, the minimum wage is too high and should be decreased
None of the above
Comment:
"I support the idea of the government topping up minimum wage to €11.45, so as not to put too much of a burden on employers but to benefit employees."
7 of 22 questions

Should all employees be guaranteed a certain number of hours work per week?

In some sectors, such as retail, the number of hours work offered to employees varies greatly from week to week.
Yes, employees who want it should be given a guaranteed number of hours
Employers should try to provide guaranteed hours to staff, but the state should not intervene
No, employers sometimes need flexibility in order to stay in business
None of the above
Comment:
"Giving employees guaranteed hours leads to a better outcome for both employers and employees and helps foster a positive working environment."
8 of 22 questions

Housing

Should there be tighter controls on rent?

Currently, landlords can only increase rent every two years, and rent increases must be justifiable in terms of the market rate.
Yes, to improve rent certainty increases should be capped in line with inflation
No, current controls on rent are adequate
No, rent controls are to be opposed as they reduce the supply of housing
None of the above
9 of 22 questions

What is your view on the Local Property Tax?

The Local Property Tax is charged on all residential properties. The revenue raised is used to fund services by local authorities.
The Local Property Tax is fair and provides much needed revenue for local authorities
Property taxes are a good idea, but the current system needs to be reformed
Property taxes are unfair and should be abolished
None of the above
10 of 22 questions

What is your view on Traveller accommodation?

The Department of the Environment provides funding to local authorities for Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes), but many local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition.
More should be done to provide accommodation for Travellers, even if there is local opposition
More Traveller accommodation is needed, but it should not be built against the wishes of the local community
The state should not build accommodation specifically for Travellers
None of the above
11 of 22 questions

Health and childcare

Should there be free health care for all, paid for through higher taxes?

Currently, only some people are entitled to free health care or free GP care. Many people who can afford it choose to take out private health insurance.
Yes, health care should be free for all, even if it means higher taxes
GP care should be free, but universal health care would cost too much
No, those who can afford to pay should not have free health care
None of the above
12 of 22 questions

Should the state do more to cover the cost of childcare?

The cost of childcare in Ireland is high by international standards. From September 2016, children over the age of three will be entitled to free pre-school for three hours a day. Beyond that it is up to parents to pay.
Yes, even if it means less resources available for other measures
No, current subsidies for childcare are adequate
No, the cost of childcare should be borne by parents
None of the above
13 of 22 questions

Religion in schools

Should religion be taught in state-funded primary schools?

Typically, primary schools spend 30 minutes a day on religious education, which in most cases involves instruction in a particular faith.
Yes, schools should instruct pupils in line with their religions ethos
Pupils should learn about various religions, not one particular faith
No, religion should only be taught outside of school
None of the above
14 of 22 questions

Should schools be allowed to give preference to children based on religion?

Approximately 96% of primary schools in Ireland are under religious patronage. In areas where schools are oversubscribed, some schools give preference to children based on their religion.
Yes, schools should be able to serve their own religious community first
Yes, but only if there are suitable alternatives (e.g. non-denominational schools) in the area
No, religion should have no place in school admissions policies for state-funded schools
None of the above
Comment:
"There must be a move away from restrictive faith-based admission policies in state funded schools. They are unfair and often prevent local children from attending the school of their choice. There should be a move to divest some state funded religious schools to non-religious patrons. "
15 of 22 questions

Immigration, the EU

Should we accept more refugees in Ireland than we currently do?

In response to the migrant crisis, the current government has agreed to accept more refugees. However, Ireland still takes a relatively small number of refugees compared to some EU countries (such as Germany and Sweden).
Yes, we should accept a greater number of refugees
No, we accept enough already
No, we should accept fewer refugees than we currently do
None of the above
16 of 22 questions

Has European integration gone too far?

Some argue that greater integration is necessary to tackle EU-wide issues such as the financial crisis and the migrant crisis, while others believe that the EU interferes too much in the affairs of member states.
Yes, more power should be returned to member states
The current level of integration is acceptable
No, European integration should be pushed further
None of the above
17 of 22 questions

Environment

Should more wind farms be built in Ireland?

Currently, Ireland has 199 wind farms, which produce around 18% of the country’s electricity. Ireland has signed up to a target of generating 40% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Yes, we need more wind farms
No, there are enough wind farms already
No, there are too many wind farms
None of the above
18 of 22 questions

Should we sign up to the EU’s targets on reducing emissions?

The European Commission wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Some groups are opposed to this because they believe it would have a negative impact on certain sectors, such as agriculture.
Yes, we should do what it takes to reduce our emissions in line with EU targets
We should seek to reduce emissions, but these targets are too ambitious for Ireland
No, we do not need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
None of the above
19 of 22 questions

Political reform

Is the party whip system too rigid?

Political parties nominate someone as the ‘party whip’ whose job it is to ensure that TDs vote according to the party line, or else face the prospect of being removed from the party.
Yes, TDs should take instruction from their constituents or follow their conscience on all matters
TDs should be given a free vote on ethical issues, but on other matters the whip is needed
No, government parties need to be united in order to implement their policies
None of the above
20 of 22 questions

Should citizens be able to initiate referendums?

Currently only the government can call a referendum. In some countries, citizens can initiate a referendum to introduce or overturn legislation or amend the constitution, once a certain number of signatures are collected.
Yes, allowing citizens to initiate referendums would empower the people
Yes, but only for referendums to overturn legislation (not to amend the constitution or introduce new legislation)
No, citizen-initiated referendums would be costly and potentially chaotic
None of the above
Comment:
"I support a system where a significant number of signatures on a petition can trigger a debate in the Dáil but not instantly initiate a referendum."
21 of 22 questions

Crime

Are criminal sentences too lenient in Ireland?

There are currently around 3,700 people in prison in Ireland. The number of prisoners has increased in recent years, but the rate of incarceration remains relatively low by international standards.
Yes, criminals should be more severely punished
No, the current sentencing regime is about right
No, there should be a greater focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment
None of the above
Comment:
"I believe for first time offenders who have committed non-violent crimes it would be better for the community and offenders to have other options than a prison sentence."
22 of 22 questions