Government intervention needed to cut petrol prices

Fianna Fáil’s Naas Area Representative, James Lawless, has urged the government to act now without further delay and tackle the escalating cost of petrol which is crippling families and businesses across the country.

“The price of fuel again reaches record highs this week as families return to school and the weekly round trip of school-run, children’s activities and all that goes with family life. Families have told me they can no longer afford even those standard activities trying to run a regular family car on current fuel prices” stated James.

“The government have sat on their hands and allowed the situation escalate to crisis point. For every litre of petrol sold almost a euro of that is taken in by the government in taxes. Meanwhile they have twice rejected Fianna Fáil proposals to make even modest cuts to the price of fuel in both April and again in August of this year when Fianna Fáil tabled legislation before Leinster House to reduce fuel excise duties” James explained.

“But government policy is counter productive; fuel tax revenues actually fell this year for the second year running as motorists are being hammered again and just cannot take any more; disposable incomes are disappearing out the exhaust pipe with knock on effects for the whole wider economy as everyone suffers from less to go round”.

“The exorbitant cost of fuel is hitting every single household in the country and is discouraging tourists from travelling through Ireland not to mention the direct cost hitting every business. You don’t even need to take my word for it: As Conor Faughnan of the AA said last week ‘The motorist is being used and abused by the government’”.

“If Fine Gael and Labour could just put aside party politics and accept the Fianna Fáil proposals, the Government could take a simple step that would immediately reduce the price of petrol at the pumps. I am calling for immediate action before the situation escalates any further than it has already” concluded James.

About James Lawless

James Lawless is a long serving active member of the Fianna Fáil party and will be contesting the Committee of Twenty elections at this year’s Ard-Fheis.

James has been active politically since university when he was involved in students union campaigns. James is a former Chair of Wexford Ógra Fianna Fáil and is currently Chair of the Sallins Cumann and vice-Chair of Naas Comhairle Ceantair. James served at national level before as a Leinster rep on the National Youth Committee. In 2011 James re-established the Cearbhall Ó’Dálaigh cumann at Kings Inns and is currently Chair. In 2009 James ran for local elections to Kildare county council as a  Fianna Fáil candidate – despite a record low for the party, James polled credibly for a first time candidate achieving half a quota on the first count and was the last to be eliminated. James would be economically centrist whilst being more conservative on social issues. Public transport, area planning, political and legal reforms are policy interests allied to a strong Republican ideology. James is a strong believer in traditional party heritage and is a local organiser of the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown (as pictured). He was also part of the team behind the new Fianna Fáil magazine, CUISLE, launched recently.

Growing up in north Wexford, as a young adult James worked at a variety of jobs in the tourist and service industries. Since college his professional career has been largely within IT. Currently he works as a systems analyst within the insurance and financial service industries.

James studied at Trinity College from where he has a primary degree in Mathematics and a masters degree in High Performance Computing. James is currently studying law by night at Kings Inns where he recently took first place in exams overall as well as a number of individual prizes.

In his spare time James enjoys jogging, a round of golf or exploring the great outdoors with his children and their dogs. James is also a keen follower of Gaelic games and is involved locally with Sallins GAA.

Other local involvements include Sallins Community Games, Sallins Community Council, Naas & Sallins Rail Users Group, Naas Toastmasters, Bodenstown Golf Club, Sallins Fianna Fáil and Sallins Pier Residents Association.

CUISLE – Pulse of the Party

One project I’ve been working on recently is a new communications channel within Fianna Fáil. As readers of this blog will probably be aware I had “issues” with the communications style of the previous leadership and one of the key things for the party to tackle in Renewal is that whole area, both internally and externally.

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My experience over the past few years has been that there are plenty of individual members out there in social media and other fora with strong opinions and articulate viewpoints even at times when the ‘senior party’ was more reticent. Thankfully nowadays the party is all singing off the same hymn sheet at every level but either way our new project is designed to give those members a voice and an outlet for discussion, debate, to compare notes and to renew the party.

The results went to press last month and are now in circulation amongst the party membership. Our new magazine is called CUISLE (“Pulse”, translated) and contains 32 pages of opinion, commentary, analysis some positive, some stark, all candid and all unfiltered and straight from the membership. I am delighted with the results and great to finally now see it in print. I have a few pieces in it myself and was honoured to serve on the editorial board. This is hopefully just one of many projects over the months and years ahead that will allow the membership renew the party and exercise democracy and direction as to where and what sort of party we all want to end up with.  We might have a smaller party but perhaps a small passionate membership is better than a horde of good time golfers. Anything in life is what you make it and now we have that chance. If any readers would like a copy of the new mag, get in touch.

Camelot Revisited

With the premature passing of Brian Lenihan Ireland and Fianna Fáil lost a huge asset and a man whose full potential was probably never realised.

As was remarked during the week when Garrett Fitzgerald was 52 he hadn’t even served in his first government yet, let alone been party leader and twice Taoiseach and a distinguished commentator for decades after.

Brian faced his illness with dignity and great courage and seemed resolute until the end to keep ‘fighting the good fight’. Even with death around the corner and the gale raging against, he stayed fixed to the mast of the national finances and soldiered to the bitter end.  There has naturally been a lot of talk about his legacy in recent days and most have focused on his dedication, patriotism, decent and probably above all courage in the face of such extreme adversity as he battled against the storm raging both outside in the wider world and inside his own body.

In a couple of follow up blogs I will consider recent events more closely, but for now suffice to mark the passing of the man. One cannot help but wonder what might have been had Bertie given him his start earlier, and had his undoubted ability at the cabinet table in the preceding years.

His father before him was another giant of Irish politics and in many ways was hewn from the old Fianna Fáil cloth, championing independent foreign policy on causes as Palestine, double dealing with the British over commonwealth membership in return for the six counties back, advancing education through the development of the regional technical colleges, rolling back censorship a most liberal and progressive move for the time, among many other achievements. Of course Brian senior got to spend thirty years as a senior Minister, Brian junior barely got three.

The family has been beset by tragedy, as eloquently chronicled by Jonny Fallon last week, and it was in this context I was reminded of the Kennedys when I first heard the news of Brian’s passing last week. Doomed by fate and bad luck and equally poignant in promise unfulfilled, it is well documented how three Kennedys in succession attempted to take the White House, each one falling to a different fate. In a swansong to his own dreams but a rallying cry for the greater cause, Teddy Kennedy delivered the last of the Camelot speeches in 1979 when he was narrowly beaten for the democratic nomination in what he knew would be the last chance for a Kennedy ever again to take the top prize.

I think his words then are relevant now and I sign out on those lines..

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

Slán a Bhrian. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

The darkest night before the dawn..

Yesterday’s opinion poll marked a new low point for Fianna Fáil and for the government, but the real low point has been the slow drip drip, of death by a thousand cuts and gradual erosion of party support over the past many months and even years.

I’ve long said it is not good enough to simply want power for the simple reason of having power. You must want to do something with that power and have clear and powerful enough goals to inspire others to entrust you with it. I’ve been working on some policy ideas with a few other like mindeds but I might talk more on that another day.

For now, here are a few simple things I think the government could and should be doing if it is to recover its standing among the people.

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