In the name of honesty I must stress that I have now had a totally different experience of other Social Democrats on this and similar issues and it would not be fair to judge them by their leader at all.
When you get to the bottom it will be pretty obvious why I will never vote for Stephen Donnelly or anyone connected with him, but I think it is something you should take on board in your own considerations too.
So take a step back from the specific issues.
I am a constituent, Donnelly offered to do his job (the one he gets significant dosh + expenses for) as a TD and represent my views and the rather unique knowledge (that may well exceed anyone else’s) I have of a current issue. That offer was completely empty.
I was patient, understanding and undemanding, in the beginning I was even cordial and accommodating.
In the end all I got was a form letter lecture on my opposition, that showed he had not only not bothered to give the support he had offered, he actually managed to forget every word I had said, up to and including which side I was on.
At about the same time he seemed to have do some kind of deal with a political clique including at least one of my most virulent opponents. I thought the Social Democrats were supposed to be opposing that kind of thing?
I do not want this kind of appalling treatment from my elected representatives, and you probably don’t either. If a TD has behaved this way to you in a different issue, even one I personally found abhorrent. I wouldn’t vote for him either.
On August 31 2012 I sent a copy of my submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee to Wicklow independent TD Stephen Donnelly, also pointing out that I am a constituent (who had corresponded with them before). It was immediately acknowledged, and during a very cordial dialogue with his Aide a meeting was arranged for some time in September/October 2012 near to me that never materialised.
I was called by one of his Aides in November and told that he had read my submission, was fully supportive and very much wanted to meet me and discuss it with me. It was a very cordial conversation during which I stressed that as I could appreciate they were busy I was happy to travel to any convenient place at any convenient time.
I wasn’t unduly concerned when I heard no more. My submission was 77 pages long and, once read, there did not seem to be much I could add. His office seemed constantly “snowed under” so if he had been convinced by my submission there was no point in him wasting valuable time meeting me for form’s sake.
However I did send a follow up mail on 4 July 2013 as the situation had escalated and it had become increasingly obvious we were never going to be allowed to voice out concerns or challenge the increasingly blatant lies from “Turn Off the Red Light” in any public arena.
I did not hear any more until I received a mailshot on 10 September 2013. I replied to this cordially and received an acknowledgement, specifying that they would be in touch “shortly”. To which I replied twice suggesting a date (26 September 2013) I could meet with him with Laura Lee, or giving contact details (with permission) in case he would prefer to meet with Laura Lee separately.
I received a mailshot about the Dail being back on 18 September 2013, then nothing.
On 21 November 2014 I mailed Stephen Donnelly , allow me to copy that email here:
Dear Stephen Donnelly,
In May the Justice Committee in Stormont published my remote, rural private contact details when I sent them sworn testimony related to the clause 6 (criminalise the purchase of sex) element of Lord Morrow’s Trafficking bill (see https://mymythbuster.wordpress.com/sworn-evidence-concealed-by-justice-committee-stormont/ ) placing me in very real danger. They have refused to remove the details despite repeated requests to do so.
It hit me, a couple of days ago that they published my contact details *BECAUSE* they hope someone will harm me, in a way they will never have to answer for, it upset me so much I nearly ran the car off the road. The miracle to take to the grave is that, so far, I have not received so much as a nasty phone call, which, perhaps, tells a deeper, better, truth about human nature that I would never have otherwise had reason to suspect?
Anyway, I am wondering if you could raise a question for me in the Dail? I understand politics pretty well and I wouldn’t ask if it were not a neutral (if loaded) question. I already managed to get the question into today’s Irish Times:
Here is the text. I don’t think anyone could dispute it:
Sir, –To date the majority of people discussing the future of sex workers in Ireland do not, and have never sold sex in any way and never will, with the understandable result that most of them are mistaken about the facts of the issue.
I do not believe that there is any moral justification for the issue to proceed further without an opportunity for people who have worked in the sex industry to challenge those misconceptions autonomously and on equal terms in public debate, something with which, to date, the main protagonists have declined to engage.
If it concerned any other subculture or social group this state of affairs would be considered appalling.
Because of the stigma attached to sex work, it is hard for sex workers to feel comfortable engaging with such a process, but stigma should not cancel out human rights. – Yours, etc,
No, I am not running or hiding (though I would have preferred the IT to be a little less location specific but I suppose they assume xxxxxxxx is the same size as Naas), there is no point now is there? This is my home of 25 years and the only real home I ever had, as an autistic with compound PTSD it is also pretty much my whole world. I would not survive moving anywhere else…so come what may. But I would not do this without very good reason. If you are at all interested in why I would risk so much here is an interview from KFM 28 October 2014 :
Apparently half the village heard it, and I have overwhelming support. Nobody has said an unkind word. Maybe it is time more people like me stopped acting as if we had done something wrong when we haven’t while the NGOs plough our lives and futures under for power and profit?
Thanks in anticipation for whatever you feel you can realistically do.
Finally on 6 January 2015 I received this email, out of the blue, unrelated to any header on any email I had ever sent:
From: Stephen Donnelly [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 11:16 AM
Subject: Re: Sex Trafficking
Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in replying to you.
This is an issue I am very aware of. I am one of five members of Ireland’s delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the only non-Government member. A few months back at a Parliamentary sitting of the OSCE in Vienna I met with US Congressman Chris Smith (who introduced legislation on this issue some years back in the US), an ex-Canadian Minister who championed this issue in Canada, and a host of others from the OSCE, civil society and politics around the world.
The meeting was to plan for an event on human trafficking at the next sitting of the OSCE. We are hoping to bring multinational attention to the issue, which is, as I’m sure you know, required to tackle this horrific practice. Regarding the sex industry, my preference would be to criminalise the user, rather than the women and men working in, or forced to work in, the industry.
My understanding is that this has worked well in other European countries
Stephen Donnelly TD
I drove into town got on to his Aide, somehow kept my temper, explained the situation and offered to wait right there until it was convenient for him to meet with me. To be told he was away, but guaranteed a face to face meeting as soon as possible.
On 14 January, having heard nothing, I emailed him and told him (remarkably civilly) that I realised there was nothing I could do to force him to give me, or any of us, a fair hearing, and that I gave up. But I also gave fair warning that I would be making the issue public at election time.
I found out he had forged an Alliance with Katherine Zappone to further some unrelated issues. I did not look into it further, I was just too angry to see truth and Justice sold out like that
I also sent him this email, on 26 February 2015
But honestly, only for form’s sake to have proof that he would ignore the danger I, a constituent, was in to gratify his new found alliances too.