Mairead Healy for Romsey
City Candidate for Romsey
Hello, I’m Mairead and I’m standing for the City Council in Romsey on May 6th.
Originally from Derry in Northern Ireland, I left 20 years ago to study law in the UK. Since then, I’ve moved around a bit, starting off my career working for the European Commission in Brussels, then working in human rights in London before making a career change and moving to Dublin to lead an award-winning national youth charity for several years. After that, I moved to the south of England where I was Chief Executive of a youth mental health service. I was also appointed to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales by the previous Prime Minister, a role I’ve recently stepped down from. Currently, I work for a major international human rights organisation where I am part of the leadership team. I am also a postgrad student at Cambridge, training to be a child therapist – it’s such great fun being a student again!
Growing up in the 1980’s as a working class catholic from the Bogside during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, I was very much aware of the civil rights struggle affecting my community, particularly as the events of Bloody Sunday took place just a few streets from my home, where civil rights demonstrators were murdered by the British army. As a result, it instilled in me from a young age a strong desire to be involved in struggles for justice and advocating for those without a voice. In addition, as an adult, I also experienced some life changing events through the loss of some of my close family members in traumatic circumstances, which also affected my decision to campaign on particular areas of inequality.
I have been really privileged to be able to work with and volunteer with various communities over the years including Gypsies and Travellers, survivors of institutional abuse, refugees, individuals who are homeless, young people and individuals whose human rights are denied to them. As a result, I strongly believe in the value of grassroots capacity building to ensure that those without a voice can be supported to advocate for themselves and ensure their voices are heard and represented in decision making.
It goes without saying that the implications of the pandemic will be felt for many years to come and there will be significant economic consequences of this, combined with Brexit. I want to play my part in ensuring our communities are supported in the years ahead, which is why I am putting myself forward as a candidate. During the pandemic, despite the difficulties, our Labour-run Cambridge City Council was able to meet the needs of our constituents with compassion and empathy in ensuring our most vulnerable homeless residents were provided with housing and those struggling with food poverty were also supported. A Labour-run City Council will continue to make decisions with compassion at its heart.
What’s been incredible to see has been the way communities including Romsey have come together to support each other, during these difficult times. This includes Romsey mutual aid, which was set up by some of our own Labour activists in Romsey to support those most vulnerable in our community. It has been local communities and volunteers who have come together to take action to fill the gaps and ensure those who are vulnerable in our communities don’t fall through the cracks.
What is not to love about Romsey? Having moved from hipster Hackney in London, Romsey has the same cool quirky laid-back vibes as East London but with more authenticity and a lot less pretension. The mix of different communities living in Romsey, combined with the strong sense of community spirit, has made me feel right at home. Romsey Labour are at the heart of all the local activities, and it is so great to be a part of such a vibrant local ward with such engaged activists who really care about their community and its residents.
I hope that we never lose our quirky edge, and Romsey continues to be a creative hub for independent shops, cafes, and businesses, bringing much loved colour and vibrancy to our community. I also hope that we can create more community spaces and opportunities for community activities. I am also in favour of continuing the traffic reduction measures currently in place, as part of our green agenda. The future is bright for Romsey!