The challenge of the United Left Alliance (ULA) to the right wing consensus in Irish politics is strengthening rapidly. As of today, a total of 17 constituencies will be contested by 18 ULA candidates in the looming General Election.
As well as Tipperary South and West Waterford, eleven constituencies in Dublin, two in Cork, as well as Wexford and Limerick city, candidates have been nominated for Carlow/Kilkenny and Laois/Offaly. This means that almost 50% of Dáil [= national parlament] constituencies will have a Left alternative to the establishment political parties.
At a press conference today, Joe Higgins MEP of the Socialist Party said:
“It is entirely possible that this number will be extended in the coming weeks but even at the current number, it is the first time in Irish politics that there was such a wide representation of principled Left candidates presented to the electorate in a General Election.
"The very positive response to the launch of the United Left Alliance throughout the country indicates a real thirst for a radical alternative to the establishment parties and particularly to Fine Gael and Labour, which although now in opposition, are pledged to essentially the same policy as Fianna Fail and the Green Party in implementing the diktats of the IMF/EU Commission on behalf of the bond marketers, speculators and European bankers.
“With the opinion polls currently pointing to the possibility of a Fine Gael/Labour Coalition with a large majority and supported in the Dáil by the discredited remnants of Fianna Fail, a significant bloc of principled Left Dáil deputies is crucial, to mount an effective opposition and offer a fundamental alternative to the attacks on the living standards of ordinary people and public services.”
Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance said:
“The revelations about Brian Cowen’s Golf outing with Sean Fitzpatrick and other figures in Anglo-Irish Bank, graphically underline the urgent need to break-up the golden circle that has brought this country to edge of the economic abyss.
“But if Fianna Fail have finally exposed themselves and now face wipe-out at the coming election, the big question is what an alternative government is going to do. This is what people on the door-steps are asking.
“It is clear that Fine Gael and Labour have no intention of reversing the damage done by Fianna Fail and their golden circle friends. They are long on rhetoric and sound-bites but short on specific commitments to reverse the unjust attacks on ordinary people.
“The United left Alliance is receiving a tremendous response across the country because it is being very clear and specific about what it stands for. We are for reversing unjust cuts on low and middle income families, investing directly in jobs programmes and making the bankers and super-wealthy pay for the crisis they created.
“In the coming weeks we intend to set out clearly our alternative programme and in the process demonstrate the failure of other parties to do the same. If the response we have received so far is anything to go by the ULA is going to make a very serious break-through in this election and begin the process of re-shaping the Irish political landscape in a progressive direction.”
Mass resignation from Laois/Offaly Labour Party – New Left Alternative organisation launched in constituency…
On Tuesday night, twenty members resigned from the Labour Party in Laois/Offaly, formed an independent Left wing organisation and nominated a candidate to stand in the General Election as part of the ULA. This followed the crude imposition of a General Election candidate by the Labour Party leadership at a Selection Convention in December where the democratic rights of ordinary members were trampled on. This was seen by the local members as an attempt to ensure that any candidates elected to the Dáil for the Labour Party would not oppose the intended policy of the leadership to join Fine Gael in government and continue the disastrous bailout policy of the present government.
The new Left group pledged to ’bring a left wing political and economic analysis to issues in Laois/Offaly’ and to ’oppose the current right wing political consensus both locally and nationally especially in relation to the IMF/EU deal, the banking crisis, cuts to public services and the levying of further taxes on the lower paid and those on social welfare.’
Polling organisations requested to include United Left Alliance in opinion polls….
The Steering Committee of the United Left Alliance has written to the polling organisations requesting them to include the ULA in any future opinion polls on political support. The letter points out that among ULA candidates are several poll topping Councillors tipped to win Dáil seats and an MEP who won 12% of the vote in Dublin in the Euro Election. It further states: ’We feel that the potential support for our coherent political alliance is being obscured from the public debate by our inclusion in the category ’Others’ or ’Independents’.
National Convention of the United Left Alliance…
A national convention of the United Left Alliance will be held in Dublin in mid-February. Further details will be announced but we can say now that it will be an important gathering of activists and will provide an important opportunity to debate and discuss the key political and organisational tasks facing the ULA.
ULA Candidates to date:
Cllr Mick Barry (Cork North Central), SP – ULA
Cllr Richard Boyd-Barrett (Dun Laoghaire), PBP – ULA
Cllr Joan Collins (Dublin South Central), PBP – ULA
Joe Higgins MEP (Dublin West), SP – ULA
Cllr Clare Daly (Dublin North), SP – ULA
Cllr Seamus Healy (South Tipperary and West Waterford), WUAG – ULA
Cllr Gino Kenny (Dublin Mid West), PBP – ULA
Seamus O’Brien(Wexford), PBP – ULA
Mick Murphy (Dublin South West), SP – ULA
Cian Prendiville (Limerick City), SP – ULA
John Lyons (Dublin North Central) PBP – ULA
Annette Mooney (Dublin South East), PBP – ULA
Conor MacLiam (Carlow/Kilkenny) SP -ULA
Brian Greene (Dublin North East) SP -ULA
Anne Foley (Cork North West) PBP – ULA
Rob Connolly (Dublin Mid West) SP – ULA
Nicola Curry (Dublin South) PBP – ULA
Liam Dumpleton (Laois/Offaly) ULA