James Byrne is a first time General Election candidate running in Louth for Fianna Fáil. James (41) is a native of Drogheda and resides in Grange Rath. A teacher at Sacred Heart Secondary School and former chartered accountant, James was elected to Drogheda Borough Council and Louth County Council in the local elections in 2019.
He replaced his father Tommy, who retired after 30 years of public service. James is also the brother of Fianna Fáil TD for Meath Thomas Byrne. He was added to the party’s General Election ticket in summer 2019.
Editor’s Note: All candidates running in the Louth constituency received the same questions.
/ What would you describe as your personal ‘signature’ issue in this election?
/ Why should someone vote for you/your party?
I am someone who is willing to listen and who will work earnestly and honestly on behalf of the people. The last two Governments failed to deliver for South and Louth and East Meath. Fianna Fáil have a plan to deliver. If returned to Government, we will place more emphasis on balanced regional development and ensure proper investment in jobs, health, housing, education and other public services.
/ Whether you are a new candidate or seeking re-election, what drove you to stand for public office?
The lack of investment in Louth and East Meath. This is the place I call home and it pains me to see so many people struggling with the daily commute to Dublin, the cost of living, the pressure for school places and access to housing and healthcare.
/ What, in your opinion, is the most pressing issue in the Louth constituency?
Balanced regional investment.
/ Do you believe that society works for all? Explain your answer and if not, how do you propose to change that?
No. For example, young families who cannot afford to get on the property ladder due to shortage of supply of affordable housing and an inability to save for a deposit. Fianna Fáil will support them by building 50,000 affordable homes at below €250,000 over the lifetime of the next Government and will introduce a 33% top-up Special savings scheme for first-time buyers.
/ What message would you give people who feel alienated by the political system and who do not intend to cast a vote on February 8?
By not voting you are not having your say on the failures of successive Fine Gael-led Governments. You are letting them off the hook. The country needs a fresh start. Fianna Fáil is the only party that can realistically lead the next Government as an alternative to deliver the devices the public deserve and demand.
/ The gap between the richest people in society and the poorest continues to grow. How can this society be made more equitable?
Take health, for example. Having a healthcare system that delivers for all. Fianna Fáil is committed to moving definitively towards fair and equal access to a high-quality universal single-tier system.
/ If you get elected, what one aim would you like to achieve in your first 100 days in Dail Eireann?
To support a Government programme that will deliver for Louth and East Meath.
/ What, in your opinion, gives you the edge over your fellow candidates in this election?
I believe I have the ability to represent all the people in Louth and East Meath. I am ambitious for this region and my focus will be on delivering not spinning.
/ Who is your hero, and why?
My late father Tommy. He supported me 100% over the years without question and was always a source of good advice. He entered politics to make a difference, and he clearly did for a lot of people.
/ What do you do to relax?
It has certainly been a challenge since entering politics. Taking time out with the family would be number one for me. Attending soccer and GAA matches is a passion of mine and jogging is great for refreshing the mind.
/ What’s your favourite song and why?
‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen for obvious reasons!
/ What’s your TV guilty pleasure?