A week with Senator Paschal Donohoe

4th March, 2010

As part of transition year I undertook a week of work experience with Senator Paschal Donohoe from the 1st-5th March 2010. I found the experience thoroughly enjoyable, and I now feel a lot more involved in politics as a citizen of our country due to attending the Dail and Senate chambers, rather than seeing them on the television.

My original perspective of most politicians was that, they were all cranky, obsessive lunatics. Put after the week with Paschal my view on politicians is entirely different. From the office staff to the senators and td’s, I found that they were all very welcoming and helpful to me.
On my first day of experience, Paschal and myself met with two men that were in the art’s industry. They spoke about new ideas within the department and wanted to organize a public meeting to discuss the issues. After thinking about the meeting that night, I thought, if the government are building football and sport facilities within Dublin. Why can’t they build more facilities for people that are interested in drama, acting, or play writing? These opportunities just aren’t there. I then typed an essay on youth unemployment. One very interesting fact in which I ascertained was that, 60% of the total amount of people unemployed in Ireland people under the age of 25 years of age.

On the second day of work experience I attended Leinster House with Paschal Donohoe. It felt good driving true the gates of Leinster house, I will admit. Paschal signed me in, and we then proceeded to his office. There I met Paschals intern Aisling, She was in the middle her master’s degree on Politics. I then went to the seanad where the order of business occurred. Paschal asked for a debate, to be proposed on emigration while other senators spoke about the girl that was taken into care by the HSE that died due to lack of care by the government. The intern then invited me to a meeting on organ donors. Some of the representatives present compared the amount of organ donations with other countries. I learned that a shocking 6 hearts in the whole of Ireland were donated last year in Ireland compared to a much higher figure in un developed countries. These figures in my opinion were disgraceful.

On Wednesday the third day, we signed in and went up to the office. I finished off my essay on youth unemployment and paschal then assessed it. I attended the leaders questions in the Dail and also met Lucina Creighton . Later that evening I attended the local fine gael meeting. Charlie Flannigan, Fine Gael’s justice spokesperson was a guest at the meeting. He spoke about numerous justice issues that have not been addressed by the Government. Some of the simplest things that people would take for granted have again not been addressed by our current Government. For example there is one mobile detector within the entire prison system in Ireland. It is sent around to each prison on scheduled dates. This subsequently means that while people are getting detected with mobiles visiting prisons in Dublin, they are not in Port Laoise, and then the visitors are giving there mobiles to prisoners, so they can contact people beyond prison walls. This is in my opinion is an outrageous problem living in 2010, and it really shows the Government in my opinion is incompetent to lead our country for any longer.

I really enjoyed my experience with Paschal, and I’m very thank full for the opportunity he has given me. He has definitely inspired me to get involved with Fine Gael.

By Donal Byrne