Joanne Pender not standing again in Kildare

by Mick Healy

“If we have learned anything from recent progressive changes in Irish society with the Repeal movement and the Water Charges campaigns is that it is through struggle, constructive participation and direct action that change really happens.”         
– Joanne Pender, February 2019.

During the people’s resistance against injustice in the North of Ireland, it was said that ordinary people did extraordinary things.  This could be said of socialist Joanne Pender, originally from the Curragh Camp but now living in Kildare Town with her husband and two children.

In February 2012, hundreds of people packed into the Hotel Keadeen in Newbridge for a meeting organised by the Anti-Household Charge Campaign.  The attendance included Joanne, who had never before considered non-payment of a tax or charge.  It was not long, however, before this working mother became a leading member of the local Anti-Household Tax campaign.  Moreover people began to gravitate around her because she was able to articulate their concerns in a transparent and honest way.

She became increasingly politically active in the massive anti-water tax /anti-austerity campaign.  Saying ”having been betrayed by our governments past and present, I think now is the time for working people to bring about a change to improve the living standards of people in our community and to create the type of society we want”, Joanne stood for local council as a candidate for the Kildare/Newbridge branch of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Tax in 2014.  She was elected, with 1,435 votes.

It was no surprise that she became a leading activist in the Palestine Solidarity, Marriage Equality, and the Repeal the 8th campaigns. (South Kildare voted 70% for Repeal).  Joanne has also done more than any councillor in the area in exposing local discrimination against the Traveller community, highlighting the Department of Defence evicting families from their homes in the Curragh, and in challenging the local housing and homelessness scandal.

However, after a lot of consideration she has decided not to contest the 2019 local elections for Kildare County Council.  It has been a real challenge to maintain a work/life balance and, unfortunately, it has become unsustainable to continue in two full-time roles.  We will miss Joanne’s progressive presence in the local council but look forward to continuing to work with her in campaigns for people’s rights.

Posted on March 11, 2019, in Anti-household and anti-water tax, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, Irish politics today, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Women, Women's rights, Workers rights. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

%d bloggers like this: