Ireland is one of the worst countries in the European Union to have a disability. It is the only country in the EU where there is NO legal obligation on the State to provide Therapies, Treatments, Services, Supports, Respite or Care Hours to Disabled Citizens, the Elderly and their families.
As a Parent, Carer and Advocate, Tom is fighting to change this and will introduce Legislation that will legally guarantee the Fundamental Human Rights to Treatment, Therapy and Care Supports for Disabled Citizens and the Elderly – and all those who acquire a Disability during their lifetime.
Tom Clonan has been campaigning for decades for Irish Society to be more Inclusive, Supportive and Diverse – Open to all Citizens – Irrespective of Disability, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Religious Formation. As a Feminist and Whistleblower on Sexual Violence in Ireland’s Armed Forces, Tom has a particular interest in Gender Equality in Ireland.
As a parent and carer, Senator Tom Clonan witnesses the endless discrimination a disabled citizen in Ireland has to face every day, in healthcare, education, housing , public transport, and every other aspect of life. He is fighting for an Ireland where every person can live an independent, fulfilled life – regardless of their identity or status, whether that be disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious belief or ethnicity.
At present, Ireland is the only country in the European Union where there is no legal obligation for the state to provide treatments, therapies or supports to disabled citizens or elderly. Nor is there any legal obligation for the state to provide carers, carer supports or respite to disabled citizens, the elderly or their families.
During the lifetime of this government Senator Tom Clonan will introduce legislation to address this.
Tom believes that the state is failing in its duty of care when it comes to supporting its disabled citizens. As soon as Disabled Citizens show the ambition to lead an independent self-actualised life, as artists, entrepreneurs or employees, the state deprives them of their supports – denying them their full human rights as Irish citizens.
Equality does not mean treating people the same. It means recognising the extraordinary challenges that disabled citizens face and scaffolding them with the extra supports they need. Equality means treating Disabled Citizens differently – giving them the extra supports and scaffolding to fully access all areas of Irish life.
Senator Tom Clonan understands and appreciates the immense value of Ireland’s Neutrality as a core component of our foreign policy. Neutrality is a powerful value. Tom has served on the front line of conflict as a United Nation’s Peacekeeper and has 23 years of experience as a security analyst and a journalist in Ireland, the Middle East and Central Europe. Tom’s experience of conflict informs his view of Military Neutrality and Ireland’s Defence, Security and Best Interests. Ireland’s role as an independent neutral voice for peace gives Ireland a unique moral platform and credibility as a peacemaker and peace broker in a time of increasing and escalating global conflict.
Ireland has participated in many conflicts internationally – in Europe, Africa and Asia – as a neutral peace broker. Ireland is an active participant in UN, EU and NATO Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Operations World Wide. We can continue to make this positive contribution. Our robust involvement in conflict resolution does not require us to join NATO or any other military alliance. We are militarily neutral, but always active in the cause of peace and reconciliation.
Senator Tom Clonan is a Veteran of Ireland’s Armed Forces with first-hand experience of International Conflict. He served in the Defence Forces for eleven years (1989 – 2000) alongside his male and female colleagues in Ireland and the Middle East. He also served as an Election Supervisor in Bosnia in 1996 at the end of the Conflict in former Yugoslavia.
In 1996, as a serving Captain, he completed a PhD on the military experiences of his female colleagues. His groundbreaking researched revealed shockingly high levels of gender based discrimination and violence in the Irish Defence Forces including the widespread sexual assault and rape of female soldiers.
His research was rejected by the Irish military authorities. In response, Senator Clonan demanded – and got – an Independent Government Enquiry into the Sexual Violence Raised by his research. The ‘Study Review Group’ vindicated Clonan’s research findings and confirmed the toxic mysoginistic workplace culture within the Irish Armed Forces.
Tom has worked for the last two decades as an academic, researcher and journalist to campaign against gender-based violence. In 2020 he was appointed to the HEA Expert Group on ending sexual violence in third level education. In 2021 he was appointed to the Technological University Dublin Taskforce on ending sexual violence and harassment on campus. In 2023, Ireland awaits the findings of the Independent Review Group – a Judge-led Inquiry into the Workplace Culture of the Irish Armed Forces.
Gender-based violence has been on Tom’s agenda for over two decades and he continues to advocate for the rights of survivors and for structural change to end all gender-based violence in Ireland.
The Women of Honour
As a carer, Dr Tom Clonan has experienced at first-hand the disjointed and mismanagement of our Health Care System. A perfect example of this is the staffing crisis in all areas of the HSE and other Section 38 and 39 Organisations that deliver healthcare in Ireland. This crisis is due to insufficient pay, long hours, poor working conditions, chronic workplace bullying and the immense costs for those seeking to train as a health care professional. For example, a 1st year graduate entry medical student is not eligible to any support or scholarships for the course as it is not recognised as a level 9 degree.
It is with this in mind that Tom stands for full pay restoration, pay equality for all clinical staff and grades – and most importantly, medical leadership in our healthcare system so that we can retain the well trained and right calibre of GPs, hospital doctors and consultants, physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and clinical nurse specialists.
Unless we protect our healthcare system there will be a continued move to privatisation and commercialization of our health provision leading to a more American-style model. He will continue to campaign for a Constitutional Guarantee for universal access to public healthcare.
Climate Change and Agriculture
As the world enters a period of global flux, with conflict, fuel and food security a growing concern, Senator and security analyst Tom Clonan believes that Ireland must maintain its primary position and sustainability as a net exporter of sustainable and environmentally friendly food and food products.
Tom deems climate change is the pre-eminent threat to global peace and stability. He therefore prioritises and incorporates climate change actions into every aspect of his work in the Seanad.
Tom is working to ensure that Ireland re-configures its over-reliance on oil and fossil fuels to sustainable fuel sources and to become a net exporter of green energy. This is in alignment with building Irish Neutrality as well as fighting climate change.
As a fluent Irish speaker, Senator Tom Clonan believes that in an age of globalisation, our unique cultural identity is a singular identifier that will be key to our future survival as an Island Nation.
He supports all initiatives to preserve our language and unique cultural identity.
As an artist himself, Tom supports the arts in their demand for better state-lead funding and support.
Dr Clonan believes equal access to education is what will determine this Republic’s future. To achieve this, we need equal access to higher education for all. For example, the recent Higher Education Authority Bill 2022, not every student is eligible to the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) as those in private further education facilities.
As a parent himself, Senator Tom Clonan believes that one of the cruellest aspects of Irish society is that its youngest citizens cannot even have the modest ambition of renting or buying their own home. That is the definition of a dysfunctional society.
As a parent of four, Senator Tom Clonan understands well what it means to care for one’s children while also trying to stay in the workplace and pay a mortgage and all of the other financial challenges that families face. He will fight for state-supported childcare for all of our citizens at home and in the workplace similar to the “Ecole Maternelle” system in France.
Tom works constantly to reverse the cuts to services and supports for disabled children, adults and carers and for the adequate funding of home care packages for all of our vulnerable citizens – the disabled, the elderly – so that nobody gets left behind.
Tom strives to end homelessness for all Irish citizens, regardless of gender, ethnicity or age, especially the most vulnerable of our children. Tom believes that it is a national – and international – scandal that there are over 2000 homeless children in Dublin in 2023.
Senator Tom Clonan is the son and grandson of members of An Garda Siochana and has worked alongside An Garda Siochana during the Troubles. He is therefore keen on working to ensure there is proper investment in our policing structures with regard to pay, training and 21st Century equipment and supports. Tom also believes that the public must have 100% trust in the administration of justice – and for this reason advocates for the most robust oversight mechanisms for our policing and intelligence services.
Tom is greatly in favour of the ongoing root and branch reform of our policing service, its independence from politics and its proper oversight.
He continuously works to reinforce and vindicate public confidence in the Administration of Justice in Ireland.
Tom is advocating for proper investment in An Garda Siochana to combat organised crime and drug related crime. Ireland has one of the highest rates of homicide by firearm in the EU. This drug related phenomenon needs to be targeted and brought to an end.