On April 16, 2014, I changed the law in Ireland. The ban on bankrupts running for public office was overturned. We had inherited antiquated laws from Britain where ‘men’ of ‘property’ were only allowed run for office. In fact the last person to be prevented from taking up his seat in the Dail was Big Jim Larkin in 1927 – I wonder how history might have been written had he been allowed. Michael Davit of The Land League before him had been stopped also. The day he gave his maiden speech in the Commons, bailiffs were carrying the furniture out of his home, and he had to step down afterwards.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law in Ireland. Not a lot of people have done that. Had I been bankrupt anywhere else in the world I could have stood for parliament but not if I had been bankrupted in my native Ireland. So I took a high court case against the government for the infringement of my constitutional rights and the government rushed through the law in time for European nominations.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law in Ireland and Senator David Norris said: I welcome section 1, as does everyone. I am very glad that tribute has been paid to Jillian Godsil who was a student of mine in Trinity. If anybody deserves a second chance and if anybody deserves a chance to run, this woman does. She is very brave and courageous and I wish her well. I am very glad that this is being put through quickly by means of a motion for early signature meaning that these people will be allowed to stand for election.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law in Ireland. Next up I want to change the whole thrust of the Insolvency laws. These have proven to be wholly inappropriate at best and punitive at worst. I would have them rewritten to protect people over banks, to provide transparency over doubt, to provide justice, fairness and compassion to people in distress.
On April 16, 2014, despite the fact that I changed the law in Ireland, there are still 300,000 families in mortgage arrears. I met someone recently who said to me: I was brought up to repay my debts. The comment sunk in and I realised the chilling implication was that somehow, as a bankrupt, I had been brought up not to pay my debts. I was shocked. Prior to my financial collapse, I had not so much as a library fine, a parking ticket or an unpaid debt of any kind. I had been brought up to repay my debts in common with the 300,000 Irish families now in mortgage arrears. So what had changed? Had we (as in those of us in financial distress) suddenly changed our moral perspective, our ethics? How had this happened to not just one person but to thousands of people overnight? Of course, the answer is not that people’s ethics had suddenly morphed into those of the artful dodger, but the recession combined with changing rules forced people into untenable positions, positions that can count their cost in blood.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law. Now I want to change the language of debt. When the financial crisis deepened, so too language changed around debt. Terms should as debt forgiveness, debt cleansing and moral hazard began to be part of the conversation, only these terms were being generated by the financial industry and used a weapon against ordinary people. If you were a developer or a banker, you could argue for business negotiation but if you were an individual, you had to ask for debt forgiveness. Not only was the little person the lowly supplicant, the bank held all the cards. Debt forgiveness wasn’t a right, it was a gift at the behest of the banks. Not only was the language changing, overnight the rules changed. The banks went from the position of throwing money at people with the loosest of terms, to become predatory institutions capable and ready to act in the letter of the law. Once the financial crisis gathered pace, people were set up to fail.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law. Now I want defuse the anger and confusion about debt. Language is a very important indicator of what is happening in this debate and despite the soaring levels of anger in this country – against the banks, against the defaulters, against the bondholders, against the government – it is being used most effectively by the establishment. Language is being used to shame people in Debt. For some reason, Debt has become a moral issue, an ethical issue. Let me state very clearly here that language is a very powerful weapon in the armoury of the banks. Debt is not a moral issue, debt is a business condition.
On April 16, 2014, I changed the law. Now I want to give truth a chance. Even if it is An Uncomfortable Truth
Prior to April 16, 2014 …
I have won awards for my writing, credits for my blogs and am represented by the Jonathan Williams Literary Agency. I have written for most broadsheets, industry publications and some tabloids. I write for a range of international publications. I am also a freelance broadcaster.
I ran a very successful PR firm in Wicklow employing five people.
In 2010, my company ran the biggest global marketing campaign in the world called The Ultimate Job
I signed contracts with a Hollywood Producer (the programme was never made, but I signed contracts)
I had been featured in TV, radio and print all over the world – for debt, jobs and #positiveireland marketing
I was Asia Pacific Director for Advanced Technology for Hill & Knowlton in Singapore
I was PRO for indigenous software company Iona Technologies
I was a graduate hire for JP Morgan in the city of London
I hold a masters from Trinity College, Dublin
I was the advisory board of the School of English in Trinity
I am incoming President of my alma mater, The High School Rathgar – the first president of the combined past old boys and old girls
I have trended on Twitter – twice
I learnt to ride a horse when I was 41 years of age (never having ridden before). I went to my first all-Ireland riding club festival six months later and won a rosette in the performance hunter class. I went on to win show jumping competitions all over the country. I travelled to Montana and took part in a cattle drive. I travelled to South Africa on an equestrian safari and swam on horseback with hippos. Sadly, my pecuniary state means I had to give up my mare – but I’ll be back!
I scuba dived in Fiji, falling backwards into the water from a flimsy, tiny boat, into troubled waters, far out from the coast line, despite not being able to swim at sea – and survived to tell the tale!
I sing in choirs – currently the Omagh Peace choir and the Wolseley Singers. We sang in the National Concert Hall, Christchurch Cathedral, Tullow, Gorey, Waterford and Derry in the past eighteen months.
I have done the PR pro bono for the Irish Horse Welfare Trust for the past ten years. Now my eldest volunteers every week in the charity.
I sponsor a Russian orphan, because while charity begins at home, it doesn’t stop at the borders. We talk sometimes on Facebook.
I believe in the innate goodness of people, in the unflagging spirit of our people and in justice and equality for all. This is the world I want to live in and the one I want my children to inherit.
I believe that everyone can make a difference. I am asking you to join with me to make that difference, to be the change you want to see.
Please VOTE for me on May 23rd so I can carry on making a difference
Thank you x