LGBT Noise activisit, Lisa Connell throws her hat in the local election ring on the marriage equality platform

30 Apr 2009

Lisa Connell and her father Batty Connellby Simon McGeady

MEET THE Greencastle father and daughter team that are hoping to strike electoral gold in Inishowen and Dublin in June's local elections. Former Garda Bartholomew Connell and his gay 26 year old daughter Lisa's politics may be different, but they share a conviction that change is needed.

He is a former Fianna Fáil supporter while she is Dublin based community activist campaigning to allow homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

"I'm running because Gay couples still can't get married," said Lisa, who two years ago set up the Gay rights group Noise. "At the moment the government are working on a civil partnership bill and it's grossly inadequate. If it comes through it will legislate inequality. I decided to get involved politically because we'd have protests and nothing would happen," said Lisa who is running as an independent in Dublin South West.

"If I was to be very honest the chances of me getting elected are slim. The reality at the moment is that I am a single issue candidate. I am using my campaign as a platform to talk about equality for Gay people. But there are other problems in Dublin like homelessness and drug problems too."
"Let's be honest, a lot of people are quite homophobic still. My Brother's Andrew and Patrick or my sister Aoife could all get married in the morning. I can't believe that in the eyes of the law I am not equal."

A former Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein member, Lisa's father Batty, was a founder member of Inishowen Community Concern.
"I made up my mind six weeks ago, but this has come about out of the frustration of not being able to get anything done over a number of years. We got onto the council about local problems, but were getting the cold shoulder.

"A month ago I met a colleague from my time at the Garda Station on Moville Main Street and asked him how he was going to vote and he told me he was not going to vote because there was nobody in the running worth giving his vote to. He said he would vote for what I was proposing."

Mr Connell insists he's not just a spoiler candidate.

"I am going all out for a seat. Here in Moville I think there is a seat to be landed. I want to take a vote from any elected representative that's not being productive."

He believes he'll need around 1,100 votes to get elected.

Fishing, the health service and education are his chief areas of concern. He will press for reform of the Now Doc and a reduction in the cost of prescription medicine "Government was never meant to be them and us, but that's what it has become. The Fianna Fail grassroots got old and weren't replaced and so the party became monstrously out of touch. There is so much bad feeling towards present politicians that I don't think they can go to a door."

Article taken from the Inishowen Independent.