Catherine Joseph, the new Green Party Local Electoral Area Representative (LEA Rep) for Longford, was not a member of the Green Party until very recently. She heard that the Green Party was proactively recruiting LEA Reps of different backgrounds and from different communities while she was undertaking Electoral Empowerment Training with the Immigrant Council of Ireland. The Immigrant Council, a body with whom the Green Party have had ongoing engagement, advised her to get in touch with the Green Party if she was interested in joining and becoming a representative. We’re proud to say that just a few weeks later Catherine is now a member of the Longford-Westmeath Greens and has enthusiastically taken up the position of LEA Rep for Longford!
Catherine comes from Benue state in Nigeria and moved to Ireland nine years ago. She is highly involved with community politics as a member of a local Public Participation Network (PPN) and the local Residents’ Association. She is passionate about migrant empowerment and racism and set up the Ethnic Minority Hub, a non-profit organisation seeking to support all minority people living in Ireland. She decided to join the Greens and become a Rep because “the party’s objectives in climate action, social justice and inclusiveness aligns with my purpose and the reason I decided to participate in Irish politics”.
“As someone from a minority and black community, feeling welcomed, accepted, and having the sense of belonging and the right purpose as well, means a lot. The Green Party ticks all the boxes for me,” Catherine said on her experience so far.
So what exactly is an LEA Rep and who can get involved? Local Electoral Area (‘LEA’) Representatives are Green Party volunteers who represent the Party in an unelected capacity in the LEA in which they live. Much like an elected Councillor, they act as a local spokesperson for the Party in that area, are a contact point for constituents, and can get involved with local initiatives, campaigns and Green events to help promote the Party and Green action across the country.
Because the LEA Reps of today are the potential Councillors, TDs and leaders of tomorrow, it is important that we empower and upskill Reps from groups and backgrounds that are traditionally excluded from Irish politics. This includes women and gender minorities, racial minorities and people of colour, migrants, disabled people, members of the Travelling Community, and more. Our ultimate aim is to recruit a cohort of LEA Reps whose identities reflect the rich diversity within Irish society.
If you want to get involved with Green campaigning locally and dip your toe into representative politics, the Green Party’s next LEA Rep could be you! Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the role and recruitment.
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