Fiona McLoughlin-Healy is an Independent Councillor with a proven track record in holding local government to account, a track record that attracted a historical record-breaking vote in the Newbridge electoral area in the Local Elections in May 2019.
With Kildare South now taking in a large section of Laois for the upcoming 2020 General Election, she now wants to continue her record of putting constituents first in Portarlington, Killenard and Ballybrittas.
You might also recognise her as one of the regular panelists on Virgin Media’s Elaine Show, a station she has worked with for over ten years across a range of programmes.
A former nurse, Fiona also has a degree in Law and Politics and a Masters in Communication. She ran her own successful business for over 10 years before running for local election in 2014.
She presents her own podcast – Straight Talking with Fiona Mc’ – where issues discussed include women in sport, the drugs epidemic, climate change and local government reform.
She is married to Bernard Healy from Kilcullen, a GP for over 20 years. They have 3 children Ryan (15), Erin (13) and Freya (12) In her free time, McLoughlin Healy is a member of the management team for the LGFA U14’s girls county team.
During her campaign for LE14 McLoughlin Healy promised a new type of politics based on principles of transparency and accountability, something she has delivered on over the last five years.
She led the focus on governance issues at the Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board, an organisation with a budget of over €100 million a year with 25 schools across Kildare and Wicklow and over 23,000 students.
From 2014, when she was appointed to its board McLoughlin-Healy started asking questions and raising concerns about the governance of the KWETB, including the process for selecting members to the main Board, to the 22 second level school boards of management and to the interview and procurement panels.
In 2017 the C&AG conducted an investigation of the 2015 accounts and found serious lapses in procurement and other issues including the use of 5 star hotels for staff meetings. Some of these issues are currently under investigation by the Garda Economic Crime Bureau.
“It was a difficult experience trying to get answers to basic governance related questions as a board member of the KWETB and I want to pay tribute to those, from both inside and outside the organisation, who though fearful of speaking out, were brave enough to raise their concerns with me.
“I am proud of the teaching and non-teaching staff who continue to focus on their students during a very difficult time.
“Much work is yet to be done and I am hopeful that by the end of the investigation by the Garda Economic Crime Bureau, the KWETB will be a better organisation, for all students and staff.”
Although profiled for her work in relation to the governance issues arising at the Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board and more recently in relation to issues arising at Approved Housing Bodies/Voluntary Housing Associations in Kildare South Fiona is also recognised as a hard worker who has helped deliver for example, a town hall, a skatepark and funding to protect the unique environment amenity, the Curragh Plains from littering, overgrazing, dumping and furze fires.
After over five years campaigning to have webcasting of all public council meetings introduced in Kildare County Council her tenacity has paid off.
“The webcasting of all public council meetings will significantly improve the transparency and accountability of local government and with it the fairness and effectiveness of how it administers public money, the people’s money.
“I was delighted to finally receive the support I needed to introduce webcasting of council meetings in Kildare.
“If elected I would support the introduction of webcasting of all public council meetings nationwide.
“People are entitled to know how decisions are made that impact on them directly.”
When asked what she would hope to do as an Independent at a national level McLoughlin-Healy states:
“A truly Independent TD, unfettered by the party Whip system or by any pre-election deals, has the potential to hold government to account and to really put Portarlington and the Kildare South Constituency on the map.
“For too long the constituency has been the poor relation of the commuter belt constituencies.
“It is time to rectify that. From my work as a councillor, I know people remain frustrated and angry about access to essential services such as healthcare (both in hospitals and in the community), policing, public transportation and social housing.
“We also face serious quality of life issues due to high rents, long commutes and childcare costs.”
Cllr McLoughlin-Healy says if elected she would make it easier for more people to get involved in how our communities are run and our money is spent.
Many of the governance issues in the likes of organisations like the KWETB are because ordinary people are shut out. If elected she hopes to organise regular meetings in Portarlington and across the Kildare South constituency in order to help constituents hold her to account for their vote.
Her policy priorities are:
Accountability in Government
- Strict governance controls on all major capital projects and accountability for massive overspends
- Strict criteria for appointment to all boards funded by public monies
- Regular public meetings/forums through the Constituency so that constituents can hold me to account
Transport and Sustainable Development
- Additional rolling stock to provide increased capacity on train services serving towns in the Constituency.
- Increase subvention to public transport services
- Substantial increase in funding to provide for a network of safe paths, cycle lanes and cycle facilities
- Engagement with the Land Development Agency to harness the potential of our urban centres for housing and regeneration.
Environment and Climate Action
- More ambitious targets for renewable energy generation
- Increased ambition on climate targets for 2030
- Just transition fund supports for Bord na Mona and all workers affected by moves to cleaner energy sources
- Tax incentives and supports for farmers converting use of some of their land to forestry
- All local authorities to sign up to the All – Ireland Pollinator plan and the Covenant of Mayors
- Introduction of well-being budgeting to measure long lasting impacts of policy decisions on peoples lives
- Additional funding and resources for mental health services
- Moving our health service towards far greater use of technology to reduce bureaucracy and paperwork
- Implementation of Sláintecare which includes greater investment in Primary and Community Care
- Funding of services in the community
Education and Apprenticeships
- Increased funding supports for ASD (Autism Support) units in the constituency
- Affordable, accessible and high quality childcare for parents, fair pay for early childcare services workers and sustainability for providers.
- Significant expansion in co-operation with businesses of the apprentice programmes in the State to the non-traded sector
- A National Social Media education policy to help students and teachers manage the effects that Social Media apps have on students and teachers mental health.
Policing and Defence
- Fairer allocation and distribution of Gardaí to the Kildare South Constituency
- Support for an independent statutory pay review body to review pay and conditions for our Defence Forces.
- Significant increase in construction of social and affordable housing by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies
- Tighter regulation and oversight of Approved Housing Bodies
- Small Business Tax Policy – regeneration of towns and villages
- Reduce the headline rate of Capital Gains Tax to 22% to make investment in small business more attractive
- Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed to equal the PAYE tax credit
- Local authorities have been using commercial rates to balance their books as evidenced by significant increases. This is not sustainable. We need the Independent Valuation Office valuing premises not local authorities
- Reform of business insurance
- More funding from the URDF and the Rural Development Fund for the constituency
McLoughlin Healy is asking voters to consider her track record when voting.
“I would ask the people of Portarlington and Ballybrittas to please consider giving me your number one to represent you in the Dáil not on the basis of enthusiastic election promises, rarely delivered, but on the basis of a track record in holding local government to account for their effectiveness in building sustainable communities and how and where they spend public money.
“I will give the same level of commitment and energy to Portarlington and Ballybrittas as I have done for the other areas I have to date been privileged to represent.”