B(u)y the book!

Last week I made it into a book, a legal book, a proper non-fiction book about Electoral Law in Ireland. The author Jennifer Kavanagh is a lecturer in Law in Waterford IT and has just completed a PhD in law in Trinity College Dublin. Her book, Electoral Law in Ireland, is available from Bloomsbury Professional

It is quite an expensive book as paperbacks go, costing €150, but it is possible to write the cost against tax. I was advised that by the young barrister Ruadhán Mac Aodháin who was also purchasing the book just as I arrived at the book launch. Ruadhán was part of the legal team that made it possible for me to be mentioned in the book.

In 2014 when I became the first female bankrupt under the new Insolvency laws in Ireland, I was unable to run for public office. Those of you who know my story will remember that my own personal descent into financial ruin (divorce + home repossession + business failure + bailiffs) had created an accidental activist.

I became well known for ranting and raving on the airways domestically and abroad about the injustices facing ordinary people.

I was – and remain – very anti the stranglehold the banks have on the people.

I was – and remain – very anti the spin developed by the banks to say that people who fail financially have the moral integrity of Artful Dodger and then some.

I had had enough. I was tired of the system where being a good, law abiding, hard-working, honest citizen had resulted in one crushing defeat after another. I won’t bore you with my story here – there is plenty of that on my blog – but I wanted to stop being a victim.

So the law case, handled by the incorrigible Colm McGeehan and ably barristered by Dr Michael Forde, Richard Humphries and the aforementioned Ruadhán, led me to the High Court so that I could argue my constitutional rights were being infringed.

I blushed when I met Ruadhán again for I was a most awkward client. The sharing of reciprocal affidavits where nothing was ‘admitted’ by the Irish Government except that I might be the Artful Dodger in question reminded me too powerfully of my recent experience in the divorce courts.

However, the legal team sallied on undeterred by their emotional client. And as the government too decided that I was not for turning, the law was rushed through in time for me to run for the European Parliament in Ireland South in May 2014.

I am proud to say I left the electoral count centre in Cork with 11,500 votes under my belt build on nothing more than my character.

I had no money, no party behind me and only four weeks to run my campaign. So much for the Government ‘admitting’ that I was the Artful Dodger.

However, while my character may have passed the moral test, my financial status has not as yet recovered sufficiently for me to be in a position to purchase that rather nice book. So instead the kind lady at Bloomsbury scanned in page 71 and here I attach it proudly.

IMG_2837

I am proud to be Page 71

 

 

 

 

And I thank Ruadhán for his encouraging words to me as I entered the 2014 European race with all the experience of a church mouse. Ruadhán said that everybody should run in a political election at least once in their life. While at the time, that emotional, denying Artful Dodger cursed him for his enthusiasm, the post election, triumphant candidate is deeply grateful for his words.

Victories are more than votes.

I got to put my victimhood under the sword in the process. That, as the ad says, was priceless.

But you can buy the book here

jennys book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independents can make a difference – the Power of One

READ MY MANIFESTO HERE

 

The power of ONE can change laws. Do no doubt where there is a will there is a way. Where one person can change laws, think what many people can do.

On Tuesday April 1, 2014, The Irish Cabinet agreed to reverse the ban on bankrupts running for public office. This is a monumental change. The law has been in place since the foundation of the State. In fact, this law prohibited James Larkin from taking up his Dail seat in 1927. The Cabinet is now rushing through a bill that will alter this in time for nominations for the European Elections on April 17.

This is directly attributable to my legal case in the High Court.  I had brought a case to challenge the ban on bankrupts. Nicholas Kearns, President of the High Court, was unable for time constraints to hear my case before April 17 and so had set a date for July. However, given the incontrovertible case in favour of changing the law, Government acted with sense. Now, that is not a comment I would have thought to have made in recent years. It acted with sense and took action to reverse the ban in time for April 17.

Why did it need to be changed? It makes no sense (there is that word again). A person bankrupted in another country can run for the Dail or remain in the Dail, but if they are bankrupted here they cannot. This archaic law was formed in times were bankruptcy was seen as a moral failure, not a business condition. This change should have been incorporated in the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy laws but was overlooked – along with a whole raft of other issues. I raised the challenge to highlight these new laws which are sadly lacking in common sense. Our Insolvency Laws are still not fit for purpose. A report issued yesterday demonstrates this clearly with only 4 cases completed using the Insolvency Service and more than 60 people using bankruptcy. The laws need to be changed – quickly – to help people in debt. Having been through the whole process I know how to fix it; creating clean, business-like and compassionate law. Law that reflects the society we want to live in, not the polarised version we exist in at the moment

Back to the power of One – If one person can change law, think what many can do. Voting for an independent can make a difference. I have made a difference already – and I’m not even formally on the ballot paper.

Of course, even an Independent needs help and I have to thank the amazing legal team behind the court case: Dr Michael Forde. Richard Humphries, Colm MacGeehin and Ruandhan.

Think on this:

There is a well-documented swing away from political party voting towards Independents, it is coupled with a general feeling of disillusionment and disenfranchisement as a whole. I am not a betting woman but if I were, I would hazard a bet that we will see an all-time low in turn out for the coming local and European elections.

This disillusionment can be directly linked back to the General Election three years ago where Fianna Fail got their comeuppance and Fine Gael / Labour were given a clear and powerful mandate to reverse cronyism and fight for Ireland in Europe. This mandate was totally ignored.

‘Isn’t that what you do during an election’ said Pat Rabitte

What? Tell lies? Bald and bad political thinking at its worst.

So people moved their support to Independents who were at least not directly culpable for creating the mess or indeed for perpetuating it; independents who were not tied to the party whip and who could vote with their conscience not according to the latest political expediency.

But the big problem facing Independents is that they lack power. Their very independence means they don’t have the big political wheels churning behind them.

THINK AGAIN.

I have made a difference. Come join me and make a difference. Think what we can to when we all come together.

Irish Men and Irish Women – for the sake of Democracy – Let us all Unite

Jillian Godsil