Katherine Zappone: Why Independents could make a difference in next Dáil
Over the years, I have travelled down many paths. I have been an educator, a grassroots community activist, a human rights commissioner, a CEO with the National Women's Council, and a change leader. Today, I am an Independent candidate running for election in the Dublin South West constituency, which takes in the suburbs of Tallaght, Templeogue, Citywest and Rathfarnham.
It has been half a century since a non-party candidate was returned to Leinster House from this constituency, and it has seen only one female TD since the 1940s.
I first knew that I was going to run in 2013, mid-way through my term as an Independent senator. We started An Cosán, our community education organisation, in Tallaght in the bleak 1980s. The recent austerity policies have brought us backward to those devastating times and I decided I couldn't stand by to witness all that we had built up being torn asunder. Maybe my voice in the Dáil could change things.