Today my first campaign as an independent candidate for the constituency of North Tipperary & South Offaly comes to an end. It’s been an amazing experience in more ways than one. Less than three weeks ago I had no plans to run in this election. I was as many of you that read this, an Irish citizen fed up and annoyed by the way this country of ours had been brought to a state of financial & economic ruin by a government that was completely disconnected from and ignorant of the wishes and needs of it’s citizens. With the election in sight I started looking around at who the candidates in my constituency were. Not a single one of them instilled much confidence. Those representing the current government parties deserved to be put behind bars or to be at least barred from politics. The rest either represented opposition parties who idly stood by while this country was ruined or did not have an agenda that I had any faith in. Every single one of them was full of lofty promises but I have not an ounce of faith in these being fulfilled once they are elected.
Because we live in unprecedented times. Forget about my policies for a moment. You can read those here. Let me just lay out the facts for you. Our country is in an economic depression, what’s more we haven’t seen the bottom yet. There is a wave of mortgage default coming down the line and the government has failed to put the buffer on the line to stop this. Instead all the effort and money has gone into paying of a debt that isn’t ours. An 85 billion euro bailout has been accepted at a punitive interest rate. We have a 15+ billion euro deficit. We have a level of unemployment that is just plain scary. We, my fellow Irish citizens, are waist deep in the poop. And we need strong people to help us get out of this. We need people who can make the right decisions, who do not have any allegiance to the “old order”, political hierarchy or any other false idols. We need people who will face the brutal light of day and who will make decisions with the interest of Ireland and it’s citizens foremost in their minds.
Those people cannot be found in any of the current parties. Every single one of them is blinded by party dogma, too tangled in the web of corrupt politics and have been flogged till they bleed by the party whip. We need a strong independent representation in the next Dail. A counterweight against the self interest of the current political incumbents. We need it to be the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room ready to pounce on anyone who makes a decision or tries to force a policy that is not in the interest of the Irish people.
I am appealing to you tomorrow to give your local independent candidate your first preference vote. This is the only way we will see real change. Because change is what we need. We need to reject the current IMF/EU “bailout” deal for two simple reasons; it’s not a bailout and we can never ever repay this. The current deal will bring this country to it’s knees and our children and grandchildren will still be repaying this debt without it having any benefit to the Irish economy. It’s dead money plain and simple. We also need jobs, real jobs. Not green jobs, pink jobs or mauve jobs. We need jobs that will allow people to pay their bills. No airy-fairy talk but real action. We need to stop cutting the poor and vunerable to fill this deficit hole. It does not make sense cutting welfare payment when there is a jobs deficit. You cut welfare when there are jobs for everyone *not* when there are no jobs. You do not cut child benefit and other payments when peoples income is shrinking drastically. You save when you have plenty and you use those savings when you have little. My mother taught me that and anyone who ever ran a household will know this. The FF/GP government purposely failed to do so and is now making the people at the bottom end of the society pay for that. We need a more equitable tax system (hello flat-tax) that protects the poor while at the same time not penalising the wealth creators in this society.
Please ignore all the blurb about the independents not having any power. There are 233 independent candidates running campaigns across Ireland. That is a considerable number and cannot be ignored. A lot of these independents have similar policies and will vote as a block when in government. Further down the line this could have the makings of a party. Now is the time to make a stand! We need to send a clear signal to the political establishment (who have ruined this country) that we have no faith in them. If we do not do this and continue to vote for parties that make up the current stale political system we have lost our chance to make a change for the good. You hold the power to bring along this change and I ask you, I plead with you to do so. We now not only have people emigrating because they have to, we have young smart people emigrating by choice because they have lost faith in this country. If we do not make a change now we will lose a whole generation and this will become a poor hollow country inhabited by old, grey and angry people.
Do not get me wrong however, voting for an independent is not magically going to fix all our problems. However it will make this country change course in the right direction rather than sailing straight to the end of the flat earth that the current parties seem to have based their policies on. We need a direction and policies that will rebuild this country and bring it into prosperous times again. We need forward thinking and we need people who are willing to put their shoulders under the economy in order to achieve this. We do not need career politicians who are only doing this for the money, power and pension.
Because of this I appeal to you tomorrow to vote and to vote independent!
The introduction of a flat tax system is one of the prominent points on my agenda. Last night on the Vincent Brown show I brought it up in discussion but it is clear from the reactions received from Vincent Brown (and others) do not understand the concept of flat tax. In an attempt to clarify this please read my press release from last week on the topic below:
For immediate release
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR NORTH TIPPERARY CALLS FOR FLAT TAX!
Kate Bopp, independent candidate for the North Tipperary / South Offaly constituency is campaigning for the introduction of a “flat tax system” on personal income. According to Mrs. Bopp there are a lot of issues surrounding the current system of progressive taxation. People complain that it’s imposes a too heavy tax burden on those on lower incomes while not taxing those on higher incomes sufficiently. Flat tax would address both those complaints without penalising either.
A flat tax system would tax all income over an acceptable level of tax-free at the same rate. There would be no deductions, no tax-free allowances but also no loopholes. This brings with it several advantages; it lowers some of the tax-burden on the lower incomes while at the same time not penalising those on higher incomes. It’s based on the more logical approach of valuing tax revenue by the actual amounts paid rather than relevant percentages. To use an actual example, someone on 40,000 euro p/a at a 17% flat tax rate would pay 6,800 euro while someone on 100,000 euro p/a would pay 17,000 euro tax. As the percentages stay the same but the actual amount increases it is the most equitable tax system possible. What it also does is that it removes the incentives for the rich to avoid tax (legally or otherwise) and the opportunities to do so. These, by the very complexity of the current tax system, are commensurately large for those on higher incomes.
Another great benefit is that a flat tax system greatly simplifies the tax system and results in a huge reduction in the costs of collecting tax revenues. The more complicated a country’s tax system becomes, the easier it is for governments to make it more complicated still, in an accelerating process of proliferating insanity. Flat tax would avoid all this and would result in tax returns that will fit on an A5 sheet of paper. Flat tax is also not just some mythical, theoretical solution to our tax woes. It has been implemented successfully in a number of European countries since 1994 when Estonia became the first country in Europe to introduce a “flat tax” on personal and corporate income. Income is taxed at a single uniform rate of 26%: no schedule of rates, no deductions. The economy has flourished. Others followed: first, Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia’s Baltic neighbours; later Russia (with a rate of 13% on personal income), then Slovakia (19% on personal and corporate income). One of Poland’s centre-right opposition parties is campaigning for a similar code (with a rate of 15%). In all of those countries it has show that it creates a more equal tax climate while not leading to a decrease in tax revenue.
Flat tax might just be the solution to one of the big problems facing the Irish state.
Kate is a Wexford born mother of 5 living in Coolbawn, Co. Tipperary together with her husband Evert Bopp. In addition to caring for her family she is also a final year law student at the University of Limerick. Kate is the co-founder of the aid organisation Haiti Connect which has been involved in a number of projects in Haiti for the last 12 months.
In the last 20 years Kate has worked and lived or worked in half a dozen European countries giving her a wealth of firsthand experience of different cultures, languages and types of government.
Having always had a keen interest in politics and current affairs she had steadily become more and more disillusioned with the current political status quo. With a view towards the upcoming general election of 2011 she started looking around for a suitable candidate to cast her vote only to come to the conclusion that none of the candidates from the entire political spectrum offered any hope of improvement. Faced with the choice between not voting, or voting for a candidate in whom she had no faith, Kate decided that her political ideas and grasp of the current economic & political situation put her in a position to run as a candidate herself and offer the people of North Tipperary a viable alternative and the option to vote for an improvement in the current situation rather than a continuation of the status quo.
I attended the “sod turning” ceremenony for Borrisokane Community College last week. It is great to see that this school will finally get a much need refurbishment. It is also a great opportunity to restore some of the historic buildings adjoining the school.
As always with these type of events present excellent photo opportunities and were used for this purpose by many (including myself).
Kate Bopp & Michael O’Meara
Máire Hoctor TD, Cllr Jim Casy, Darrah McKenna Mayor of Borrisokane, Kate Bopp Independent candidate and Cllr Michael O’Meara.
Below is the text of a press release that I sent out today. I think this is a very important matter.
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE KATE BOPP CALLS ON MEP KELLY TO CLARIFY REMARKS ON BAILOUT INTEREST RATE.
Independent candidate for North Tipperary Kate Bopp is calling on Labours Allan Kelly, MEP for Tipperary North, to clarify his remarks made on the EU/IMF bailout interest rate.
During an election debate in Nenagh, Tipperary last night Kelly stated that he had met with EU Commissioner Olli Rehn days before the EU/IMF “bailout” deal had been signed and that at the time of their meeting Rehn had made clear to him that a much lower interest rate was on the table.
“I was shocked by this statement” said Bopp “and I wanted to take him up on this but the discussion went off in a different direction”. Reflecting on it a day later I am even more amazed by it and think that such a statement raises several serious questions. That’s assuming it’s true. If such a lower rate was available why did Cowen & Lenihan agree to a punitive rate of 5.8%? But more importantly why did Kelly not mention this very important detail at an earlier stage? It would mean that an opposition MEP (Kelly is a Labour MEP) sat on his hands while Ireland was shackled to a destructive repayment agreement.
Does this stroke with Labours decision to publicly oppose the bailout and finance bill while at the same time facilitating the passing of the latter? “I am calling upon Mr. Kelly to clarify his comment and to make clear if this lower interest rate was really on the table at that point”. “I think that the people of Ireland have a right to know this and will continue to pursue to matter until a satisfactory ending”.
For more information please see: www.katebopp.com
Or contact Kate Bopp on 086/8645099 or email email@example.com
I was sent a number of questions by an Irish Olympic target shooter and very active member of the Irish shooting community overall. The 6 questions addressed topics that affect the shooting community very much. I have since replied but want to list the questions and answers here also to make my stance in this matter public knowledge.
As an Olympic target shooter, I’d like to ask for details on your policies and plans with regards to the Firearms Act, the handgun ban and private firearms ownership in Ireland, and to invite you to engage with the target shooting and hunting community on shooting.boards.ie to discuss these matters. With some 200,000 licenced firearms owners in the state, I think such engagement would be appropriate during the election campaign.
Some specific questions would include:
- Have you plans to increase the current level of regulation or to roll back the current level in order to harmonise our regulations with other EU states?
- Would you be willing to remove centerfire target pistols from the Restricted Firearms list, thus allowing them to be licenced again?
- Would you be willing to deregulate target shooting airguns up to 7.5 Joules of muzzle energy as opposed to the current 1 Joule permitted under the Act in order to promote Olympic target shooting in Ireland?
- Would you address the issues raised by medical associations regarding the application for a firearms licence and its implicit – but deemed insufficient by the GPs – granting of permission to Gardai to access medical records?
- Would you be willing to widen the remit of the Firearms Consultation Panel, to make it a permanent body to facilitate access to technical expertise for the Department and to strengthen communications links between the target shooting sports governing bodies and the Department and the Gardai to ensure the smooth working of the Firearms ActAnswers:
- What would you intend to do at a strategic level to alleviate the current problems with licencing which have resulted in nearly 200 cases being taken against Garda Superintendents in the District Courts at great expense to all?
Thank you for your email. I gather that Evert asked you to email these questions.
Let me start by saying that I feel very strongly about the right to firearms ownership and that I disagree with the current legislation.
I will however admit that I am no au fait with every detail of the Wildlife Act, Wildlife Acts and other applicable legislation. But I am aware of the impact it is having and intend to campaign for changes to the legislation.
Let me get to your questions;
- I intend to roll back some of the recent changes to the legislation. However as for harmonising regulations with other EU States I am not certain of your question as there is a significant difference in firearms legislation between for instance the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. I would very much strive for a system based on the premise that everyone should is allowed to own firearms unless a reason can be found why they shouldn’t. This is in contrast to the current system which starts from the assumption that nobody should be allowed to own any type of firearm unless they can provide an acceptable reason why they should. The system implemented in the Netherlands is a good example of one which I would favour.
- Yes, absolutely.
- I would. Medical records should be considered as confidential information and should only be accessible to Gardai (or other government bodies) under very limited circumstances. The processing of firearms application is not sufficient reason.
- Absolutely. A lot of issues in the current legislation and implementation of such is caused by sheer ignorance of the facts. Making the Firearms Consultation Panel a permanent body would combat this.
- Absolutely. A lot of issues in the current legislation and implementation of such is caused by sheer ignorance of the facts. Making the Firearms Consultation Panel a permanent body would combat this. From my experience and (limited) research it is my impression that a lot of issues are caused by incoherent and impractical legislation and the arbitrary implementation of said legislation. A revision of the current legislation which takes the wishes of the shooting & hunting communities in consideration as well as putting less of an onus on the Garda Superintendents would quite likely prevent the need for such legal action.