Election time provides one of the few opportunities when voluntary groups can put their case before candidates and ask for their comments. Men’s Voices did this in the 2016 election and it proved fruitful in that a few TDs who gave positive responses later arranged for us to make a presentation in Leinster House before Oireachtas members. Not a great deal has happened since then to improve the lot of men. We did make a presentation last year at hearings before the Justice committee on the issue of Reform of the Family Law and it remains to be seen whether meaningful changes in the law will be enacted by the next government on foot of the report of that committee.
But many other inequalities remain as glaring as ever.
We decided to carry out a similar exercise on this occasion. Below is an Election Statement and Questions which we sent to as many candidates as we could find addresses for. Following that we print the responses we received so far. We will continue to add new ones as they come in.
Below is an Election Statement prepared by the group mensvoicesireland centring on issues of major concern to men and boys. This has been sent to all candidates.
We ask you to please read this Statement and reply to the two questions with which it concludes. We would also welcome any further comments you may wish to make in your reply.
There is a link to our website below.
Thank you and best wishes.
ELECTION STATEMENT AND QUESTIONS
There are many issues of inequality consistently excluded from the national equality conversation. These issues concern the condition of men and boys.
This absence sends a loud and powerfully negative message to all citizens that the concerns of men and boys are not worthy of consideration. This, combined with the generally negative message on men and masculinity in much of the media, contributes to a lowering of self-esteem amongst boys and men, leading to a host of social and psychological problems.
This neglect covers a whole range of areas. We mention just two.
1. In the area of domestic violence alone, DV, the imbalance in funding for male victims is enormous. In answer to a Parliamentary Question we got the following information:
Funding to Anyman, the men’s support service, represented 1.4% of the total €17 million of funding provided by Tusla to Domestic Violence services in 2017.
There are more than 20 refuges for women, not a single one for men. There is not a single centre for male victims in the whole of the Dublin area, where about one million people live. The nearest one is in Navan.
Of the €17 million provided by Tusla to Domestic Violence services in 2017 Anyman received 1.4%
2. A core underlying factor affecting all particular issues is that there is no nationwide advocacy group or counterpart of the NWC for men, with a permanent office. This is a huge drawback when it comes to establishing a presence, lobbying politicians and state agencies, taking up issues with the media, doing research and making appearances before Oireachtas committees.
1) As a candidate, do you agree that the issues outlined are deserving of urgent attention?
2) If elected, will you speak out publicly on these issues?
Link to Mensvoices website: http://www.mensvoicesireland.com
Pat the Cope Gallagher TD
As a candidate, do you agree that the issues outlined are deserving of urgent attention? YES
If elected, will you speak out publicly on these issues? YES
Thank you for your email.
Pat the Cope
Bobby Aylward TD
Thank you for your email.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying in principal and I understand the importance of issue affecting men of all ages in today’s society. Men’s mental health is an issue I am passionate about and I will happily seek to raise issues in respect of that following the election, all going well and I am re-elected of course!
Always good to meet with you in the past Jonathon and I will look at this issue again after the election should I be returned to office.
Cathal Crowe Mayor of Clare
Thank you for your email Jonathan.
If elected to Dáil Éireann I would be more than happy to champion your causes.
Please stay in touch
Cllr. Cathal Crowe Fianna Fail
Deirdre Heney Fianna Fáil Councillor
Yes and Yes are my two responses.Kind regards,
Fianna Fáil Councillor/Group Leader on Dublin City Council and Chair of North Central Area Committee,
Seán Haughey TD
Thank you for your email on behalf of Men’s Voice’s Ireland.
I am very happy to say yes to the two questions you have posed and I look forward to keeping in touch with you about these matters.
With best wishes,
Seán Haughey TD
FF Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
Frank O’ Rourke TD
Many thanks for your email and Election Statement.
One of my first actions, when I was elected in 2016, was to invite a MensVoicesIreland group from my constituency of north Kildare, into Dáil Éireann, to give a briefing to Oireachtas members on the issues concerning boys and men.
In response to your questions:
1. I absolutely agree that the issues outlined in your election statement are deserving of urgent attention.
2. If re-elected, I will continue to speak out publicly on these issues.
Frank O’ Rourke TD
TP O’ Reilly: FG candidate Cavan Monaghan
Thanks very much for your email.
The issues you have outlined do indeed deserve discussion and when I am elected, I will be more than happy to meet with you to explore this area further.
TP O’ Reilly
Noel French FG candidate Meath West
I have much sympathy with these views.
David Cullinane TD Waterford
Thank you for your email. I have sent it on to David.
Willie O’Dea TD Limerick
Thank you Jonathan
Willie O’Dea T.D.
Senator Ged Nash Labour Louth
Many thanks for your email in relation to MensVoicesIreland.
I do agree that this issue needs attention and support. Labour has a long track record on equality, for men as well as women. We note the invitation by Dr Catherine Day to men’s organisations to participate in the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality. This will report back within the year, and Labour will pay careful attention to the Assembly’s recommendations in relation to equality for men and boys.
I will certainly raise issues such as the lack of domestic services for men, and other gender issues, including fathers’ access to their children.
I do hope that this answers your questions. Once again, many thanks for your email and please keep me informed of the issues that concern you.
Very best wishes
Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe
Thank you for your email. Hope you are keeping well.
Domestic abuse in any instance is extremely serious and is an extremely important issue. This is something I believe needs increased public attention. Throughout my time as Lord Mayor I have met with and supported victims groups.
If I am fortunate enough to be elected I will continue to support these causes.
I hope this helps, if you have any other queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Paul Kehoe TD Wexford
Jonathan, Thank you for passing on the issues of concern on behalf of Mens Voices Ireland that has been passed to Paul for his attention.
On behalf of Minister Paul Kehoe TD
Thank you for your message to the Labour Party.
Please find attached a copy of our manifesto which covers many of the issues outlined in your letter.
Labour is very supportive of the Mens Sheds ideal and will support them in every we can in Government.
Emmet Stagg Labour Kildare N.
I absolutely agree that this issue needs attention and support. The Labour Party has a long track record on equality, for men as well as women.
I will certainly raise the concerns you have outlined in your letter if elected to the Dail.
Kevin O’Keefe TD Fianna Fail Cork East
Rita Mc Inerney
Thank you for your email. Domestic violence, whether perpetrated against a man or a woman is equally abhorrent, and Sinn Féin condemns all forms of domestic violence and abuse.
Our manifesto commits to increase funding for domestic violence refuge provision by €12 million to meet need within the lifetime of the Government. In our view all need must be met including the needs of male, female and child victims of domestic violence. The delivery of this investment must also be informed by the geographic spread of need. I have attached a copy of our manifesto should you require further information.
Is mise le meas,
Imelda Munster TD