A COMMUNITY activist is bidding to become Cork’s first Traveller TD.
TJ Hogan from Farranree has thrown his hat in the ring as an independent candidate in Cork North Central.
Last year, he also ran as an independent in the local elections and decided to run in the general election after seeking the views of his family after the election was called on Tuesday.
He says his candidacy will not be centred on Traveller issues.
“My main issue is housing and homelessness, as well as mental health issues,” he said. “The northside is in desperate need of a hospital. I know we have St Mary’s campus but the waiting lists and the trolley situations in Cork University Hospital and in the Mercy Hospital are terrible.”
He also said that one of his local issues in the Cork North Central constituency is the vandalism to graves in St Catherine’s cemetery in Kilcully.
He said security of the cemetery is not just a local concern, pointing out that security is required at cemeteries across the country to prevent similar incidents in other areas.
Mr Hogan said he does not want to be scapegoated “just because I am a member of any one community”.
“I am the first ever Traveller in Cork to run for a general election,” he said.
He plans to hold an open meeting in the coming days to introduce himself to voters in the constituency.
He is a married father of two and is a graduate of Cork Institute of Technology. He holds a degree in community development. In 2016, he received a National Traveller Pride award for his educational achievements.
He had gone through primary and secondary level education with undiagnosed dyslexia, which was diagnosed when he was in first year at CIT.
He is among just 1% of 40,000 Irish Travellers who have a third level education.