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.
Kate Bopp calls for Independent candidates to forego €205,000 leaders’ allowance
Independent candidate for North Tipperary and South Offaly Kate Bopp calls for all independent candidates to agree to forego the €205,000 leaders’ allowance when elected. I only really became aware of this issue yesterday after reading about it in the Independent Newspaper. I know that current wages & allowances for TD’s are an issue that is overdue a review but I was not aware of the specific “Leaders allowance” of €205,000 over 5 years. This is absolutely unacceptable for several reasons. Firstly TD’s already are paid €92,000 per year plus expenses and other allowances. To also pay them in excess of €40,000 per year is absurd especially as this is a “party leader’s allowance” and independents do not have a party.
This allowance was originally introduced in 1938 and the only revision it has since then dates to 2001 when the PD’s extended it to also cover Independent TD’s as they needed the support of a number of independents to prop up their government. Bord Snip Nua has called for it to be scrapped, this was ignored by the Government. While there are a few loose comments about reducing it I would like it to go on record that I will refuse this allowance if elected and I am calling on all other Independents to also pledge to forego the allowance if they get elected.
Facts are that all of the major parties are campaigning on cut backs to be made left right and center while at the same time not pushing for any substantial cuts in their own wages, expenses and allowances. There is a need for politicians to be made aware again that they are public servants and that the Irish people pay their wages. It’s time that the Irish people got value for money!
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.
I have repeatedly stated that in the last few years I have either explored the options open to Ireland to deal with the current economic and financial crisis. To gather all the facts and look at all the options I have listened to or spoken to a wide range of people. Some of these are Constantin Gurdgiev, Brain M. Lucey, Ronan Lyons, David McWilliams and others. As their knowledge can sometimes become a bit overwhelming it sometimes helps to visualise it or to just listen. Gladly these people have worked together with “The Peoples Economy” to produce a number of great, short videos discussing these topics and the possible solutions. I have decided to share these with you. Please watch them and make up your own mind.
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.
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.
During last weeks debate in Nenagh a member of the audience asked the very valid question wether or not there should have been a referendum on the IMF / EU “bailout”. I feel very strongly that there should have been as the government who accepted this loan did not have the mandate to take decisions of such magnitude. Some of the other candidates at the debate disagreed and stated that they knew better what was best for the people of Ireland than the people themselves. This is exactly what is wrong with the current political system.
You can listen to a recording of their statements by clicking below:
I received an email recently from Atheists Ireland asking me if I could answer a number of question on the topic of religion. I have since replied to them but would like to share my answers to them with you so that they can serve as a clarification of my stance on this topic:
Q: Will you work to reform the education system so that all children in your constituency can access publicly-funded schools which have no religious ethos?
A: Yes, this is contained in my policies. I intend to campaign for a secular educational system with he removal of any religious preferences from publicly funded education
Q: Would you support a referendum to remove religious references from the Constitution?
A: Again; Yes.
Q: Do you believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence?
A: To quote from my own website: ” I will call for removal of references to religion in the constitution. Revision of the Defamation Act to ensure compliance with the Article 40.6.1 of the Irish Constitution ensuring Freedom of Speech.” Hence my answer in short is : No it shouldn’t.
Q: Would you support legislation to prevent hospitals from having a religious ethos?
A: I will support and call for removal of any religious ethos from all publicly funded institutions including hospitals. However privately funded institutions should have the freedom to promote their own religious ethos.
Q: If elected, would you vote to ensure that religious bodies are treated the same as other organisations under equality and employment
Q: Do you believe that religions should have to pay their fair share of tax on income that does not come from charitable activities?
A: Yes, although the implementation of this will need very specific & detailed study.
Q: If you wish to provide a brief general statements of your views on the future development of secularisation in Ireland, or to highlight any
previous comments you have made on related issues, please do so.
A: I am a strong supporter of freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech. This means that everyone should be free to believe in whatever they want to choose not to have any religion. However it also means that religion is a private matter and should in no way be part of public life or institution.
Yesterday was a very exciting day with a lot of canvassing topped of by a public debate with all the election candidates for my constituency. The debate was exciting and enervating to say the least and I will write about this later today. However here’s a recording of my opening statement made at the start of the debate:
Today was an exceptionally hectic day which started with 7am wake up call and the usual pandemonium that is the Bopp household on a school/work day. Kids woken, small ones dressed by me while dutiful dad makes 5 packed lunches. First on the agenda, after respective school drop offs in Terryglass and Portumna, was a 2 hour drive to Clonmel where I had an appointment with the returning officer for the North Tipperary consituency (who odly enough is based in South Tipperary). Despite arriving a few minutes late for my appointment at the court house, I got a warm and friendly reception. Both the deputy returning officer and the returning officer were most gracious and accommodating. Staff members even assisted me with a last minute replacement photograph as in the lunacy that is our normal Bopp morning I somehow managed to forget to bring one. I found myself dotting the last “i” and crossing the last “t” on my documents at 11.58am. Note to self: next time make decision to run a sensible period in advance of deadline.
It was first approached to I run in the general election last November. I had watched our country being slowly but steadily being brought to it’s knees by the Fianna Fail / Greens coalition and had voiced my opinion loudly and clearly in a variety of public forums. Discussions with numbers of progressive thinkers had led to the formulation of a set of strong policies. It was clear to me what was needed to bring this country back to the proud Ireland that is should be. However as time passed I hoped that someone would emerge in my constituency that I would be glad to give my vote to. To my utter frustration, this was not to be the case.
So last week I found myself in a position where I should either shut up or step up. From an ethical standpoint I could no longer continue to critisize the current government while not making any contribution to a solution to the current problems. I have sought counsel from a number of people before making a decisionand have been given gems of advice by many. Some of the most interesting discussions so far have been with local veteran politicians. Kudos to them. I feel even stronger about running today than I did 24 hours ago, and 24 hours before that. If there was any doubt in my mind they most certainly have been dispelled by the level feedback I have received from the everyone I have spoken to over the past few days. To hell with “making a small dent” in anyone’s quota, I am in this game to kick some rear ends.
I am hearing on every doorstep that people are tired of cronyism and seeing the same old faces time and time again. Current policies are as jaded as those proposing them. The anger and frustration with the status quo is almost palatable. The electorate is informing themselves and looking for alternatives. The Irish public has watched the actions of the Fianna Fail / Greens closely and they do not like what they see. I spoke to a secondary school teacher in Nenagh yesterday who could barely contain his fury at the fact that we pay double the interest rate on the IMF/ECB “bailout” than for instance Greece. If other European states have been able to negotiate 3% why do we have a special gombeen rate that is double?
Why did Cowen and Lenihan go cap-in-hand, tugging their forelock to the EU, begging for what is nothing more than a high interest loan to bail out foreign banks & bondholders? It is exasperating to listen to our current leading politicians stressing the need for us to comply with these riduculous terms, and to watch them puff up with righteous indignation at the suggestion that we may do well to take a leaf from Iceland’s book.
I intend to fight for change and for the creation of a new government which has Ireland and the people of Ireland in mind while setting out policies and making decisions. We need a government that isn’t estranged from it’s electorate and an electorate that can believe in it’s leaders.If you give me your first preference vote I promise to do my upmost to achieve this!