Issues

AVERIL’S PRIORITIES AS YOUR TRINITY SENATOR 

Protecting & Enhancing Trinity’s Reputation:

Trinity’s reputation as Ireland’s leading university and one of the most respected in the world is at risk due to Government cuts in funding for third level education. This development is not only of concern to current students, it also threatens the value of existing Trinity degrees. As your Senator, I will fight for increased investment in third level education and greater support for the university’s research activities.

 

Prioritising Education & Promoting Greater Access To Third Level:

I grew up in a council estate and was the first person in my family to finish school. Having a university education has given me opportunities far beyond those available to my parents, siblings and friends who left school early. As TCDSU President, I worked with the Trinity Access Programme to improve access to college for young people from disadvantaged areas. I also helped to devise the DEIS programme for disadvantaged schools. As a Trinity Senator, I will continue to be a powerful advocate for greater investment in education at all levels and increased access to third level for under-represented groups.

 

Improving Mental Health Services:

The poor state of Ireland’s mental health services has cost too many lives. We must end the stigma, promote positive mental health and put in place proper services for those who need help. I have worked closely with mental health organisations in the Seanad and published a National Action Plan on Youth Mental Health in 2013. My TCD Seanad campaign is supported by the CEO of Headstrong Dr. Tony Bates and by hurler and mental health advocate Conor Cusack. If elected, I will prioritise improving our mental health services.

 

Supporting Businesses & Promoting Entrepreneurship:

I studied business in Trinity, advised the government on tourism policy and have helped dozens of businesses as a public representative. I will champion pro-business policies in the Seanad and advocate for improved supports for entrepreneurs and fairer taxes and social protection entitlements for the self-employed. My candidacy is supported by some of Ireland’s leading businesspeople, including publisher and broadcaster Norah Casey and former head of Accenture Ireland and President of Trinity Business Alumni Mark Ryan.

 

Building A Fairer Society:

Our economy is recovering but our public services have been decimated and many people are struggling. Thousands have been forced to emigrate, while those who remain struggle with poor job prospects, rising rents and impossible mortgage conditions. Many families are spending more on childcare and education costs than they are on their mortgages. Our health service is in crisis and older people are finding it hard to make ends meet. As a Trinity Senator, I will prioritise not only growing our economy but also rebuilding our society and improving our public services.

 

Fighting for Equality & Human Rights:

Since my Trinity days, I have fought for equality and human rights. I was one of the key national figures in the campaign for marriage equality. My bill to assist adopted people and their natural parents was passed by the Senate with unanimous support. I also addressed a United Nations conference about Palestine and am a member of the jury for the Frontline Defenders annual human rights award.

 

Other issues I am campaigning on:

  • Improved services for people with disabilities.
  • Protecting our environment, combating climate change and supporting green technologies.
  • Voting rights in Dáil and Presidential elections for Irish citizens living abroad.
  • Reform of our public service and political institutions, including reform of the Seanad.
  • Repeal of the 8th amendment.
  • Support for the arts and creative industries.
  • An end to religious discrimination in school enrolment policies.