Albert Byrne is a first time General Election candidate running in Louth as an Independent. Albert is a native of Ardee and ran in the local elections in 2019, where he garnered 190 first preference votes in the Ardee constituency. He had previously ran in 2009, where he gained 168 first preference votes. He lives on Bridge Street in Ardee.
Editor’s Note: All candidates running in the Louth constituency received the same questions.
/ Whether you are a new candidate or seeking re-election, what drove you to stand for public office?
Disgust at the fallout of the bank bailouts in 2008 as well as a growing awareness of the role of professional crime in this country leading to the siphoning off of state funds which are needed by those in need. The lack of transparency is one of the leading causes of professional crime in this country and a reason why essential services and are not funded. The dignity of all is important to our own dignity and an island at peace. My awareness of these issues can make a difference.
/ What would you describe as your personal ‘signature’ issue in this election?
The children’s hospital is an example of how tax payers money is being siphoned off by those familiar with how to play the system. We need reform and transparency to ensure billions of euros of tax payers money goes where it is needed such as pre-school education and the development of emotional intelligence in children along with outreach programs to the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society to give them a sense of belonging and hope. With a united Ireland on the horizon we need to consider a federal system of government and a continuation of the NI assembly as a way to ensure the rights and dignity of all those on the island of Ireland. We need a society at peace with itself.
/ Why should someone vote for you/your party?
I bring a wealth of experience from my background in education where I set up a chemistry department on the borders of South Africa during the Apartheid years to help in that struggle. I have worked all over the world as a systems engineer and systems analyst. I now work as an IT team leader. I have set up a health clinic and retrained as a nutritional therapist giving me a unique insight into ways the healthcare system can be reinvented to reduce the reliance on pharmaceuticals through free nutritional evaluations. Most importantly I want to put an end to the siphoning off of state funds through a lack of transparency. Having experienced abuse in my childhood I am emphatic on the need to promote preschool education to enhance emotional intelligence in our young as that has been a significant issue for me in my life. I also subscribe to the HARM reduction model in regards to drug use and support addicts seeking treatment through my website www.myeboga.com.
/ What, in your opinion, is the most pressing issue in the Louth constituency?
Crime & Drug Use – We will not fix the problem until we know the solution and for that we need to think outside the box. As Einstein once said: the definition of insanity is doing something the same way while expecting a different result. In Portugal, where drug use was decriminalised in 2001 (if the user had no more than a 10 day supply) there was a fear that there would be more drug users and with that more crime. The opposite happened. In addition, sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug use decreased dramatically. There has also been a 60% increase in uptake of treatment programs as of 2012. The tax payer has benefited from the decrease in costs of incarceration and the war on drugs. Money which can be better used elsewhere.
/ Do you believe that society works for all? Explain your answer and if not, how do you propose to change that?
No. Professional crime has hijacked the system and the most vulnerable pay the price.
/ 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?
Vote for candidates who show an awareness of what is wrong with the bricks and mortar of our system and want to make society a better place – not by increasing taxes but by not wasting the taxes already collected through reform and transparency of our spending systems.
/ The gap between the richest people in society and the poorest continues to grow. How can this society be made more equitable?
More social housing for a start which is affordable. Better early childhood education to improve emotional intelligence and to give children a better start in life. Better access to education and support for student fees. A move away from the concentration of jobs in Dublin city to towns in the country. Better social facilities for young people in rural areas. Outreach programs to help those who feel socially excluded.
/ If you get elected, what one aim would you like to achieve in your first 100 days in Dail Eireann?
I would like to see an inquiry into where the money for the children’s hospital went and why through the auspices of a professional body familiar with corruption in government projects. In addition a review of spending practices in government.
/ What, in your opinion, gives you the edge over your fellow candidates in this election?
An awareness of the need for transparency in government spending and early childhood education as well as a broader understanding of the ways to reduce drug use and crime.
/ Who is your hero, and why?
Nelson Mandela. After being abused by the South African state he made peace with himself and with his oppressor. He put out the hand of peace and worked towards a better society for all.
/ What do you do to relax?
I like to swim, walk and in particular I like dancing and having a good chat with friends.
/ What’s your favourite song and why?
Hard to say. I like Leonard Cohen (First we take Manhattan. Then we take Berlin) and many other artists. Ask me another time.
/ What’s your TV guilty pleasure?