What really matters in Longford and Westmeath?
Barbara Smyth
Independent Community Activist
Mental Health Awareness - Funding & vital nature of these valued services
Real jobs, an end to demeaning schemes and a real recovery for all
Housing - The right to a family home and tackling our long waiting lists
One in four people will experience mental health issues in their lifetime, that's 25% of our friends, family and neighbours.
In Longford/Westmeath there are 8 HSE mental health services. 7 are in Westmeath. Only ONE is in Longford. That is just unacceptable. Westmeath has double the population, not seven times the population. I will be demanding that this imbalance is dealt with and that the whole system is properly funded and resourced. Where I come from everybody matters, equally.
Schemes like JobBridge are not designed to create employment, instead they just allow government to massage unemployment figures, employers to exploit people and unemployed workers to be used and demeaned.
My eldest daughter and many like her are told by "employers" in Longford and Westmeath that they need to be on the live register and be prepared to go on JobBridge if they want to be considered for a "job"!
That does not spell recovery, it is just exploitation! I will propose a real incentive driven initiative that helps employers to create real and sustainable jobs.
Every family should be entitled to adequate housing, regardless of their means. Our government MUST legislate on this basis.
We need real funding targeted at the void housing in Longford and Westmeath. Last year, in Longford, just 16 houses got funding to be transformed from void to available. With so many ghost estates and stagnant housing waiting lists, this is unacceptable.
I will propose that government prioritise Longford and Westmeath, providing realistic budgets for the provision of housing.
Funding cuts, services withdrawn and some budgets removed entirely. That's a great message to send our young people! They are the innocent victims of austerity. In our two counties, this is particularly endemic.
Young people need to develop, learn and feel they are a part of their communities. This requires proper investment and it pays real dividends. I intend to be loud and proud about all our superb young people who deserve so much more.
Youth Services - Funding and development, support and awareness