Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Tipperary now that the election campaign is under way?
A: Health, housing, mental health, the elderly, the environment, rural crime, broadband, farming, and jobs.
Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Tipperary constituency in the next Dail?
A: My campaign slogan is A Better Way for Tipperary - which means better public services in health, housing, mental health, and how we care for the elderly. Restoring 24-hour emergency services at Nenagh Hospital is a priority. After nine years of Fine Gael government, we have record homelessness and record rents.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: As the only female candidate in North Tipperary, as a businesswoman, nurse, and community activist for 20 years, I offer solutions not soundbites. On health, for example, we have 540 consultant vacancies because Fine Gael cut new consultant’s pay by 30% in 2012. We have pensioners waiting 48 hours on trolleys because one third of our EDs don’t have enough emergency department consultants. I would restore this pay, and lift the recruitment ban.
Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?
A: Introduce my ME Time policy in schools. We have PE - physical education - now we need ME - a mental education programme to help students cope with the stresses of social media and reality tv, both of which assail our children with false notions of perfection, exacerbate bullying and lead to low self-esteem and an increased prevalence of suicide and eating disorders. As someone who overcame an eating disorder in my teens, I am passionate about this mental health policy.
Q: Who will top the poll in the Tipperary constituency?
A: Fianna Fáil.