Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sign the Breast Cancer Petition

I see my colleague in Waterford, Cllr. Séamus Ryan, has started a national online petition to seek a proper national screening service to prevent Breast Cancer. As you all know, we have a crazy level of mortality from this cancer which affects a huge number of Irish women. I fully support this online petition, and I encourage you to get everybody possible to sign on to this petition which will go to the Toiseach and the Minister for Health. You can access the petition here, or through Séamus's blog at

Get online now and sign up.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Looking after the farmers again

Travelled to Dublin on Monday at the request of the party's Agriculture correspondent Mary Upton TD. There we launched the party's new policy documnet on faming and rural development which is very welcome. As I said previously, I grew up as the son of a farm worker, so like most people I'm not too far removed from the land. I've also represented a rural constituency foer all my time in politics. There are some really great initiatives in this document, the best of which is the sensible proposal to give 50% rates reduction to the last surviving shops etc. in rural villages. In places like Skeoghvasteen, Coon, Glenmore, Ballon, Ballinabranna and Newtown this could keep the remaining small businesses open. You can view the full document here.

The other benefit of attending was the bit of National publicity involved. We got the Six One News on RTÉ and a great pic in the Irish Times on Tuesday. Now it's back to knocking on the doors and explaining the policy and our commitment to rural life to local people who live in these areas. Also got coverage in the Kilkenny People. It all adds up!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Welcome to the O' Brien Blog

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. As I said in my profile, I'm entering my 23rd year as an elected councillor. Since that time much has changed about politics, but if you had talked about websites, email and particularly blogging when I was first elected, you'd have been taken off to the local psychiatric hospital, now thankfully almost closed.

I believe that politicians must always find new ways to reach out to voters and to communicate with the voters so I hope that you will follow my news and thoughts on life as your local councillor, election candidate and hopefully the next Labour Party TD for Carlow/Kilkenny. Let me know what you think, for better or worse.

Here goes now for my first pic. Here you see me, my party leader Pat Rabbitte TD, Cllr. Seán Ó hArgáin, the quiet lad from Kerry and now Councillor for Kilkenny city, and Cllr.Phil Prendergast, a Kilkenny native and our candidate for South Tipperary. We're at the recent world ploughing championships in Grange, Co. Carlow. Having been reared as the son of a worker on the now world-famous Mount Juliet estate, I have always been close to the land and rural people. You'll see in my next blog that I am playing an active part in the party's policy on rural Ireland.