19th November 2015
You’ve come into the public spotlight relatively recently, having previously been involved in work with a lower profile. Do you see the work that you’ve been doing with Catherine Murphy – and more recently with the Social Democrats in your own right – as a natural continuation of the community work that you were involved in previously, or does it feel like a dramatic shift for you to end up running for a seat in Dáil Éireann?
I absolutely see it as a continuation. Everything I’ve undertaken professionally has had a political slant to it in trying to somehow address inequality and injustice in society. I had always envisaged running for election at some stage, it just came about sooner than anticipated!
Having worked as a journalist and a community development worker, you returned to college in 2011 to undertake a Master’s in Political Communication in DCU, which was a precursor to you joining Catherine Murphy’s team. Was the decision to go back to college a pivotal one for you? Were you always hoping to return to do a Masters, or what prompted it?
I was working in a community and voluntary sector that was being decimated by funding cuts. I knew my job was in danger and I also knew I wanted to do something where I could continue trying to bring about change. I have always been fascinated with how politics is communicated and the reasons for the disconnect between it and many people’s lives, so the DCU course seemed to perfectly marry the two. It was a game changer for me in that it brought me directly into contact with professionals from within both the media and political sphere and I found myself passionately energised by the opportunities to bring politics back to the people by way of communication. Going to college as a young person with an undetermined vision of your future career path is a very different thing than specifically choosing a topic and being passionate about it. I was working full-time when I undertook my MA which was also full time – I was exhausted but I loved every minute of it and worked hard to achieve the First Class Honours MA that I did.
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