Seána is equal to the challenge!
A young teacher from Mullahoran was elected Ógra Fianna Fail’s national equality officer at the weekend.
A delighted Seána Brady, who teaches in a north inner city Dublin primary school, told the Celt that she was “honoured and privileged” to be chosen for the important role.
Seána has been a member of her local Fianna Fáil Cumann in Loughduff since 2012 and has also been a long-term member of Cavan Ógra.
“The Fianna Fáil policies and values align with my beliefs. We are the Republican Party and, if you strip back Republicanism and what it means, one of the core values is equality – an Ireland for all is what we envision,” articulated Seána.
Asked about her future political ambitions, perhaps a future Dáil run, Seána is keen to keep the focus on the job in hand and adds that she is busy with her teaching career. “I am focussing on what is in front of me at the minute,” she says.
Seána feels that equality and education go hand in hand. “Education needs to enshrine equality and schools need to reflect the society we want to build on. When you think of the big educational achievements in Ireland, you note that Donagh O’Malley introduced free secondary level education for all and the huge moves Micheál Martin made on special education and another Fianna Fáil Minister’s actions on the DEIS Programme in 2005,” she points out.
When asked if more women should consider politics as a career, Seána says that gender quotas are only a temporary solution to a wider problem. “The real work needs to commence on the ground and supporting women from the very beginning – that you are not just putting a female on the ticket for a General Election for the sake of it. Rather that female has been supported from the grassroots and that they want to be involved and that they know that there is support behind them,” she feels.
Seána believes that Fianna Fáil is making great strides in this regard. “When people realise you can use politics as a positive vehicle for change, that’s when an interest is sparked for them,” adds Seána.
She feels young people are still interested in politics and pointed to 500 delegates who attended the Ógra National Youth Virtual Conference in March.
The young teacher was also recently part of an Ógra Fianna Fáil delegation who met the Education Minister to lobby for emotional counselling and therapeutic supports for primary and post primary students.
“Lobbying the Government on the whole issue of emotional counselling and therapeutic supports to be provided in schools has given me a fire in my belly. I actually see that the government do care and they are willing to listen. It is about building irreversible momentum when it comes to important issues,” explains Seána.
Last Wednesday, representatives from Ógra Fianna Fáil met Minister Norma Foley and the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler, in a meeting Seána describes as “very positive”.
She elaborates: “I think that meeting is a catalyst for what is to come in the future. Deputy Brendan Smith has been involved with this from the beginning and Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan, who is the Ógra liaison officer and pushed for the meeting to happen.”
In her role as equality officer, Seána is planning to organise diversity and inclusion workshops, where speakers will be invited to educate members on life in Ireland as a minority.
“We want to analyse stereotypes and discuss where we can include their voices in future policy – it is not all about talking for or about people – it is about everyone’s voice being represented in policy that is about them,” she said.
Seána is currently studying a Masters in Education, Special Option of Poverty and Social Inclusion through the DCU/NEIC fellowships programme. She obtained her Bachelor of Education Degree from Dublin City University in 2017.