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Cllr Sarah Holland is the new Mayor of South Dublin

26 June, 2015 - by Sarah Holland


Sinn Féin Councillor Sarah Holland has today been elected as Mayor of South Dublin. Speaking today after her election Cllr Holland said:

“As a working class woman from West Belfast, it is an honour for me to represent my adopted home of Rathfarnham as an elected member of this council.

“It is an enormous privilege to be mayor for the centenary of the 1916 Rising. 

“The commitment to equality, solidarity and the sovereign rights of citizen’s remains as pressing today as it was on Easter morning 1916. 

“The promise of the proclamation remains unfulfilled when our county is not united, when citizens sleep on the streets, when we have children going to bed hungry. Our republic can be no place for inequality and exclusion, no place for racism, sexism or homophobia or discrimination of any type.

“That is why this year I want to commitment to promoting the ideals of the proclamation and to give them voice in the here and now. 

“I want South Dublin to be a community of equals in an Ireland of equals.

“I will use this year in office to promote equality, inclusion and unity. 

“I will use my voice to campaign for equality for women, especially those in marginalised groups who need support to stand up and be counted – women from the Travelling community, those in direct provision, lone parents or those coping with the extra demands that differently abled children bring. 

“Our council has a role beyond our boundaries. We are central to the development of greater Dublin but also a role to play nationally in breaking down barriers and building new relationships. 

“We all know that South County Dublin is one of the best places in Ireland to live, work and do business.  I will be using my role as an ambassador to promote the benefits of our county as far afield as possible.”

ENDS//

 

Note:

Full text of Sarah’s speech below 

A dhaoine uaisle, fáilte róimh go dtí an ócáid speisialta seo

I would first like to congratulate Cllr Fintan Warfield on the fantastic year in office as Mayor of South Dublin County. He took to this huge job and gave us a glimpse of a future statesman.

We were all delighted to see him addressing a crowd of 1000s just days into his Mayorship at Dublin Pride, recognised internationally as one of the best Pride Festivals worldwide, and for taking huge strides forward in bringing true equality to the LGBT community here in South Dublin County.

Thank you also to Cllr Liona O’Toole who has provided a strong independent female voice for her constituents.

I also want to thank all of the progressive alliance – Labour, Sinn Féin and Independents worked together really well and succeeded in making positive changes for all our communities.

I hope to extend this and work with all parties as a non partisan Mayor – one who is willing to put political differences aside to provide effective representation for everyone.

Fellow cllrs, county officials, friends and comrades; it is with great pride that I accept the role of mayor of South County Dublin.

As a working class woman from West Belfast, it is an honour for me to represent my adopted home of Rathfarnham as an elected member of this council.

It is an enormous privilege to be mayor for the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

It is a privilege to represent the people of south Dublin as we remember all of those fought and died to establish a national republic.

I am also aware of the enormous responsibility that this history places on us all.

It is responsibility of us all to build united, equal, free and sovereign republic for which they fought. That is the most fitting tribute to their memory.

The sacrifice of previous generations cannot be left in the display case in a gallery or paraded on the streets for a day.

The commitment to equality, solidarity and the sovereign rights of citizens remains as pressing today as it was on Easter morning 1916. 

The promise of the proclamation remains unfulfilled when our county is not united, when citizens sleep on the streets, when we have children going to bed hungry. Our republic can be no place for inequality and exclusion, no place for racism, sexism or homophobia or discrimination of any type.

That is why this year I want to commitment to promoting the ideals of the proclamation and to give them voice in the here and now.

I want South Dublin to be a community of equals in an Ireland of equals.

I will use this year in office to promote equality, inclusion and uniity.

I will focus on promoting gender equality. While some may have tried to write the women of 1916 out of history I will promote the role and needs of women as central to my year in office.

I have seen the difference women can make in their communities when they find their voices and use them.  I come from a city where everyone was politicised, and we are seeing the electorate waking up to the value of their vote here in South Dublin aswell.

The huge turnouts for the Marriage Equality referendum hopefully spell the beginning of a new era of public participation in politics.

As a working mother, I know the challenges women face whilst trying to balance all of lifes demands, and I pledge to represent all of the women and men of this county to the best of my ability.

Womens rights are very important to me, and I will make this one of the themes of my Mayorship for the year.

Across this Island, women account for around 52% of the population, yet comprise only 18% of our public representatives.

If we want to make serious changes in this areas, then we need to make ourselves open to new ideas.  This could include making our council more family friendly, carrying out a gender audit and formulating a clear plan for making our policies and practices more gender sensitive and promoting solidarity among our female political representatives.

We also need to address the issues of gender inequality within our own communities – a shocking 1 in 5 women in Ireland have been abused by a current or former partner, with 1 in 7 experiencing severe domestic violence, compared to 1 in 17 men.  These women often have to flee the family home with nothing but their children and the clothes on their backs, and we need to provide a safe haven for them.

I pledge to raise awareness of this issue and to make sure that those on our front lines are capable of offering advice, support and a safe place to stay for those women who do come to us in need.

I will use my voice to campaign for equality for women, especially those in marginalised groups who need support to stand up and be counted – women from the Travelling community, those in direct provision, lone parents or those coping with the extra demands that differently abled children bring.

Sport is central to building community and inclusion. That was true for the GAA in the build up to the rising or the role of Katie Talyor inspiring a current generation of young women. 

We are lucky to have a wealth of different clubs and teams in this county with fantastic facilities from one end of the county to the other.

Sports can have a hugely positive effect on the lives of our young people, and we can boast of several champions in everything from boxing to football, rugby and beyond.

Being part of a team can make a huge difference to a young person who otherwise would be on the margins of our society, and I propose to work alongside the sports team here in supporting the sterling work they do in making our county a centre of excellence for both minority sports such as BMX to involving minorities in sports, as we saw with the inclusion of the team from direct provision facility in our soccer tournament.

Our council has a role beyond our boundaries. We are central to the development of greater Dublin but also a role to play nationally in breaking down barriers and building new relationships.

Over the coming year I look forward to working with the other Sinn Féin mayors of Belfast, Derry Cork and maybe even Dublin to promote business and civic links.

There are so many positives to living in this county.  I chose to move here with my partner and daughter in order to give my family the best quality of life possible.

We all know that South County Dublin is one of the best places in Ireland to live, work and do business.  I will be using my role as an ambassador to promote the benefits of our county as far afield as possible.

I look forward to working with all you to promote our county and do the best for our communities and continuing the very successful progressive alliance for another year.

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