Forget Joe Sixpack. Meet Joe Behan

Meet Deputy Joe Behan
Independent TD for Wicklow
I don't often get local in this blog as I prefer to keep at least a semblance of anonymity, but tonight I am inspired to post on the actions of a man with a conscience.
Our member of parliament (or TD as we call them an gailge) for the county I live in,
has resigned from the ruling coalition party this evening.
He will continue to stand, but as an Independent that our coalition government has to "court" in order to secure his vote.
The straw that broke Deputy Joe''s resolve was a decision this week to remove medical cards from the over 70's in our budget.
Older people who would have gone to the doctor to have a cold checked out and treated, will have to think twice and perhaps then develop pneumonia, end up in hospital and then be too frail to be discharged to care for themselves at home.
Thus taking up a hospital bed that an acute patient waiting on a trolley in the emergency room would need. An acute patient who may not then be in a position to receive emergency care in a timely fashion.
It was incredibly short sighted and insulting to the people who built this country and our Joe decided that he just couldn't stomach it, so he did the honorable thing and resigned before having to vote.
Deputy Joe was already popular with me for a number of reasons.
To explain I will give you an excerpt from his resignation letter, you can read the whole thing here:
"I understand the need for party discipline and I have supported the Government line on a number of issues pertaining to my constituency, against my better judgement. They include the Labour Party Private Members Motion on the need for an independent investigation into the tragic deaths of two firemen from Bray and the need for a full time fire service in North Wicklow and the Fine Gael Private Members Motion regarding the provision of ABA Schools for children with autism."

You see Joe is what we Aussies call " A Battler". He attended the meetings before the election to listen to the parents and carers of kids and adults with disabilities.

He attended more meetings and visited homes like mine AFTER he was elected to see first hand how important a tailored and individual education is to our quality of life.

And he lead a rebel group of his parliamentary colleagues behind the scenes to lobby the previous Minister for Education to change her mind and overcome her "blockage" against the provision of such education for the children who need it. Children who are considered "unreachable", and "unmanageable" by the standard special educational services, but who thrive in the type of school that my kids attend now.

Forget Joe Sixpack, our Deputy Joe is a Fair Dinkum hero and I want him to feel the love and admiration that many special parents will be sending out to him tonight.

You can email or send him a message of congratulations for having the cojones to stand up for what he knows is right here.

And if you live in Wicklow be sure to drop by his constituency office and leave him a note, a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers; "Diana" style, tomorrow.

The rest of you can just comment!

Happy Happy Hammie tonight.

Have a great weekend and drink a toast to our Joe, The little Irish Battler!



Skye said…
It's just a real shame that the good ones have to resign to maintain their integrity - leaving the scumbags in control. Good on you Joe - I hope the future holds good things for you.
Elizabeth said…
For once, a decent politician.
Sister Wolf said…
I am about to toast Joe Behan with a bowl of ice cream. He sounds like a truly decent man. And Hammie, I'm happy when you're happy.
Songy said…
What a decent man.
Seeker said…
Glad to know this story,glad to know about Joe, The little Irish Battler... Glad to know you're Happy.

Thanks for the support about Echoes, yes I'm planing to put on facebook, but it's still early, when it will be really made.

(I'm so worried... do you know they want me to be the "President of the Board" (Direction?) (Is this right in English?) And I'm afraid, but I'll go forward)

Have a great weekend dear
All the best
Love you.
I love battlers with principles. Joe deserves a telemovie! It will be just like Erin Brokovich but less booby.

Sadly, in general, I have just about given up on politics. It's just too ridiculous and farcical and entangled in undercurrents and factions and petty schoolyard vindictiveness. Parliament question time and parliamentary privilege are just absurd slanging matches. The more I think about it, the more depressed I become.
Cathal's Mammy said…
I watched the budget Hammie, and I just could not believe what they were coming out with. The most vulnerable in our society will be hit hard by this one. And did you see the one about the DCA? It's being extended to 18 years of age, but DA now starts at 18 instead of 16. This amounts to €12,000 less over two years for a person in receipt of the DA. I don't know, where do you start?
K.Line said…
Really, Skye took my whole comment. Gotta love people with principles.
Adlibby said…
Joe sounds like a stellar human. I wonder what his next chapter will be.

Hammie -- thanks for commenting on my blog. You asked how I found you... well, I think I found Pearl (one of your followers) through Life on the Goo Goo Ga Ga. And once I was here... I stuck around for the evening completely enchanted by you.

We have much in common, which I find fascinating since I live a world away in the middle of Kansas, in the US. I appreciated the info on autism. My daughter hasn't been diagnosed with autism, but she has sensory processing issues and much of what you wrote rang particularly true for me.

Religion... ditto me. And just because it's totally random and was part of why I jumped into your blog -- My hubby & I call each other "Hammie". And so Hammiesblog... how could I not?

And now... you'll never shake me. Fantastic blog. Looking forward to so much more.

Anonymous said…
Imagine the world if all the politicians were like Joe Behan...
Make Do Style said…
I love this story - it's like a film script. It's amazing that he's a proper politican. I'd be popping in with some guiness and oysters and soda bread if I could!
Lisamaree said…
Skye: He has more power as an independent in our coalition wrackled country, and he will keep his seat thanks to all the grateful disability rights folks like us.
enc: Just so glad I was right about him, I KNEW he was fair dinkum, I just couldnt understand why he was with the big party.

Sis: thanks, he gives us hope and I love icecream toasts.

Songy: You bet ya!

Seeker: thats great news, will look out for it so.

MM Wombat: If I was any good at Facebook I would put Joe and Erin Brockovich together. I love that image.

C.M.: I think they thought they could distract us with a small furore about medical cards and we wouldnt notice the D.A.
Total Arseholes taking advantage of the weakest in our community. Look out for a joint statement from the Disability groups.

K-Line and Adlibby; Yep, truly Stellar.
Adlibby< thanks for dropping by. That's funny about your pet names for each other. I hope I can continue to entertain, and hopefully explain a little, sometimes.

Cybil: Yes, but all the corrupt politicians and property developers would be taking bribes and borrowing outrageous sums to build without planning permission on the moon!

MkDM: I think so too. He was truly brilliant on tele on Sunday and is keeping a strong line on his principals. We salute him.
So there are some decent politician's left in the world and here I was thinking it was just an urban legend!
Tatiana Franey said…
this is a beautiful blog! I'll be watching it for ways to participate!
take care
Nick McGivney said…
Well done Joe. Looks like our local independent, Finian McGrath, has stepped clear of the ruckus too.

Finesse is not our government's middle name.
Anonymous said…
Well, I usually don’t get involved in politics ( too much trouble putting on make-up on two faces!) but fair play to Joe, his heart is in the right place, as are his principles and priorities. We are proud of you, Joe.
Anonymous said…
you know what I meant, don't you ... V
Sesame said…
A politician with the courage of his convictions...well I never!good on you Deputy Joe..u beaut..
Hammie: So lovely of you to acknowledge Joe like this. I am sure that politicians feel like they only hear from us when they have done something wrong. Really lovely of you to celebrate what he did right.

Way to go Joe, and I am truly sorry to see you go!:-)
Anonymous said…
This guy has more integrity than my local TD; if he was standing in my area I'd certainly vote for time.

This is so much more honourable then the TD we've got (I'll not name him). A few months before the last election he was at a meeting for parent of autistic children in his constituency. As part of his speech he promised to stand up for our children if he got into government. Come election day, with our help, he got his wish.

A few months later there was a debate in the Dail about Autism in which he agreed that the governments plans were not good enough, but he was going to vote with them anyway. How is this the support he promised?

To stand up and agree that you are doing wrong is no support at all. If anything it just adds a veneer of respectability to a dreadful situation, and makes life worse for those who are suffering as a result of his actions.

I feel betrayed.
Cal said…
Hey my dear--I gave you an award! It is in today's post :)
bronwyn said…
It's refreshing to know that there is a moral, decent politician out there....G-d knows, we could use a few here in South Africa.