Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Background information on Cllr Mary Roche

Seanad Eireann 2016 candidate, Administration Panel.

* Mary has been a Councillor representing Waterford City since 1999 when she was the only woman elected that term, after a period where no women had been elected for 8 years. Initially she stood and was elected as an FF member, genuinely believing that being in a large party would facilitate having influence "up the line". It was always a fraught relationship, as Mary found her views often conflicted with the party and there was no process for feeding views into the party structure. In 2003 she left. It was the non-delivery of a 2002 General Election promise by Fianna Fail to deliver public radiotherapy to Waterford and the South East, that finally brought Mary to the decision to leave the party and go it alone as an independent. She has successfully been re-elected 3 times as an independent and has served the people of Waterford for 17 years. Mary has recently joined forces with 5 other County Councillors to challenge the inequality of the obligation on Councillors to pay PRSI but receive no benefits.
* Mary was Mayor of Waterford City (only the second ever woman to hold the office) from 2010 to 2011. She also sat on the Governing Body of WIT from 1999 until last year.
* Mary remains involved in health issues and is part of the (voluntary) committee South East Hospitals Support Group, who are campaigning for 24/7 cardiac care for the South East and other improvements at University Hospital Waterford. She was also very active in the debate to prevent (unsuccessfully) the break-up of the South East Hospitals Group.
* She started political life at 18 when she was elected student union Vice President, at the then WRTC (now WIT). She studied both Legal Studies and Public Relations with the Public Relations Institute of Ireland in Dublin. She worked for 6 years with WLR fm (Waterfords Local Radio Station) finishing as marketing manager when she left to start her own business, Flagship Communications, which she ran for 6 years until she had her second child. After that, between her husband working at sea (he is a Tall Ships' Captain), two young children and being an elected representative, she chose to let the business side of her life go. When she worked in WLR fm she was elected to the Waterford Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a position she held for two years (one of just two women). She was also a founder member of Red Kettle Theatre Company with whom she worked as an actress back at the very beginning of their history in the late eighties.
*Mary is currently Chairperson of Waterford Area Partnership, a development company tasked with working to eliminate disadvantage in Waterford. She has been a board member since 1999 and Chair for the past 11 years. She also Chairs the newly formed Waterford & Wexford Youth Committee, having chaired the Waterford Youth Committee since 1999.
* She is also a member of the board of Waterford City Enterprise Centre, Waterford Museum of Treasures, St. Patricks Gateway Centre, Mount Sion International Heritage Centre, Waterford Youth Arts and Squashy Couch (teenage health project) and Waterford/Wexford ETB.
* She is married with three children aged from 8 to 22 and has a 4 year old grand-daughter. If she were to be elected to the Seanad her husband has agreed to come home from working on the ship in order to look after the children.

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