Public Affairs

Political Platform: Pauline Tully TD

Pauline Tully TD was first elected to the Dáil in 2020, attracting 10,000 first preference votes and winning a second seat for Sinn Féin in Cavan-Monaghan alongside Matt Carthy TD. Tully tells eolas Magazine about her political journey, her work as a TD, and priorities for her constituency.

What inspired you to get into politics?

I come from a family which was very interested in politics. My parents and older siblings were members of Sinn Féin in the 1970s and 1980s. Coming from a border county, I was always very conscious of the problems the border on the island of Ireland caused and the discrimination and inequality faced by the nationalist community in the North. I was very mindful of the conflict that emerged because of this inequality and unfairness and the devastating affect that it had on the northern community as a whole.

The H-block hunger strikes of 1981 had a profound effect on me even though I was only a child. I was very aware of what was happening and lived in hope that a solution could be found before the first hunger striker, Bobby Sands MP, lost his life. My family was actively involved in the election of Kieran Doherty as an Anti H-Block TD for Cavan-Monaghan, and I helped in whatever way I could.

I joined Sinn Féin in 1997 after becoming involved in the campaign to elect Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin to the Dáil and then stood for election to Cavan County Council in 1999 where I served for almost 13 years. I support Sinn Féin as it is the party that stands up for marginalised people and the less well off in society. Sinn Féin has a strong focus on social issues and addressing unfairness, as well as creating a new and united Ireland where everyone is free and equal.

Pauline Tully TD alongside party colleague and MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Jemma Dolan.

What are your most notable political achievements to date?

Getting elected on my first attempt is an achievement. I was honoured that so many people in Cavan, Monaghan, and north Meath voted for me and put their trust in me to represent them in the Dáil. I endeavour to highlight and resolve challenges in my constituency on an ongoing basis.

I am a member of the Disability Matters Committee and have played an important role both in the committee and in the Dáil highlighting the many barriers that disabled people face in society which basically deny them their human rights. Engaging with disabled people and organisations that represent them has been a real education for me and opened my eyes to many injustices in this country.

I was also a member of the Joint Committee on Autism which met for over a year and produced a report with 109 recommendations aiming to improve life and ensure inclusivity for autistic people. I am a member of the cross-party parliamentary group which was established to monitor progress in this area and to keep pressure on government departments to ensure implementation of the recommendations in the report.

One of the achievements of the committee was to make Leinster House an autism friendly parliament and this was achieved in December 2023.

What are your key priorities for Cavan-Monaghan?

Housing is one of the biggest issues affecting both counties. There needs to be huge investment in both social and affordable housing. The social housing lists in both counties are extremely long. There are also many people who do not qualify for social housing but cannot get a mortgage to buy or build and cannot afford the exorbitant rent being charged currently.

Services for children with disabilities and autism are practically non-existent. There are very long waiting lists for assessments and services and children are being failed. This must be addressed immediately. This includes respite services for children and adults in both counties which are totally inadequate. There are also inadequate appropriate school places in the county and children are being forced to travel long journeys to access an appropriate education.

Both counties are rural and have extensive local and regional road networks which are urgent need of repair. In the absence of a rail network in these counties, everyone is dependent on the road network for travel and transportation.

What are your interests outside of work?

My interests are going to the gym, reading crime novels, walking, watching films and Netflix shows with my sons, and going to GAA matches when I can.

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