'People want change' - Hazel Chu and fiancé Patrick Costello win Green seats in separate constituencies
They met at UCD and 15 years later Patrick Costello and his fiancée Hazel Chu have won Green seats in separate constituencies and they feel families are just as worried for the future of their children, as they are.
Mr Costello has just won a seat in the Kimmage-Rathmines ward and Ms Chu, has stormed ahead in the Pembroke constituency of south Dublin city.
The couple celebrated their double win with one-and-a-half year-old daughter, Alex, and told how they’d heard even older grandparents on the door telling them something had to be done to battle climate change for future generations.
“People want change,” Mr Costello told Independent.ie. “This isn’t just a protest vote against Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, as there are other parties people could have voted for in protest.
“No, this is a deliberate public vote to try to change things for the better. This isn’t just a youth vote either. I was talking to an older woman, in her late 80s, who was worried for the future of her grandchildren.
“She’d been watching David Attenborough on TV and it caused a deep disquiet in her.
“She wanted to know what would happen to her grandchildren if we stayed as we are, with politicians who are not addressing the emergency of climate change.
“In 1989, the Green Party was accused of scaremongering for raising the impact of climate change but now people across Ireland, and not just Dublin, see just what an emergency this is.
“As well as that, a lot of people are angry about the failure of the current Government to address the housing crisis.
“This is another major issue people need addressed and they need new political leadership to do that.”
Ms Chu was studying politics and history at UCD when she met her fiancé, who was studying psychology.
The pair found a common theme in the environment and went on to pursue politics in a bid to help create a fairer, greener society.
“I want to thank people for voting for me,” Ms Chu said. “I feel like this has been a bit of luck to be honest.
“I’ve been bringing Alex to doors canvassing and the family have helped out too but it’s good for her to see us being active from an early age.
“She is one of the next generation who will be affected by the decision we are making now.
“When you’re a parent you really recognise we have to put climate change as the number one priority, so we have a future for our children and I really think people are all realising that now.”
Though a vote for Green could inevitably lead to higher taxation into the future due to issues such as carbon tax, the couple believe the public are ready to consider this as an option given the gravity of the environmental situation.