Election 2016: AAA and PBP split over vote transfers to SF

Ruth Coppinger reluctant to support Sinn Féin due to its ‘courting’ of right-wing parties

The recently united Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit grouping is split on whether its voters should transfer to Sinn Féin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

The recently united Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit grouping is split on whether its voters should transfer to Sinn Féin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

The recently united Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit grouping is split on whether its voters should transfer to Sinn Féin in the general election.

The grouping, which is fielding 31 candidates, is urging its supporters to transfer to other left-wing independents after their local AAA-PBP candidate.

However, asked if their support stretched to Sinn Féin, the AAA said it would not while PBP said it would.

AAA TD Paul Murphy said: “From the point of the view of the AAA that does not include Sinn Féin.”

People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith, a Dublin South Central candidate, said her position was for voters to transfer to their natural allies on the left. She said in her own constituency she will be urging people to back Independent TD Joan Collins and beyond that Sinn Féin.

“In areas where People Before Profit don’t have a natural ally like Joan or an AAA candidate to transfer to we would be saying look to Sinn Féin because they support the right to change principles which we support,” she said.

Mr Murphy denied this was an issue for the party insisting this was a sign of a new political movement.

He said the AAA-PBP grouping can take opposing stands on different issues but are united on the broad principles of social and economic issues.

‘Courting’

AAA TD Ruth Coppinger said her party are reluctant to support Sinn Féin due to its “courting” of right-wing parties.

“They are not excluding right wing parties such as Fianna Fáil and Labour, ” she said. “They are saying they will (enter coalition) if they are the largest party so that would suggest that Sinn Féin is looking to be in power at any cost.”

The AAA-PBP will both publish separate manifestos in the run up to the general election.

However both agree they will campaign to abolish water charges, property tax and the Universal Social Charge. They will also seek to reverse social welfare cuts introduced over the past eight years including the telephone allowance and the introduction of prescription charges.

It will build a National Health Service, implement rent controls and introduce a millionaire’s tax on those who earn more than €100,000.

The party will also commit to holding a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment and legislating on the right to choose.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the grouping was running 31 candidates and expects to win eight seats at the very least.

Mr Boyd Barrett said the polls would indicate the AAA-PBP is the fifth biggest grouping in the State.

“This is the biggest electoral intervnetion by the socialist left in the history of the state ,” he said. “We are going to be running candidates in over 30 constituencies including in many rural areas and we are not just targeting seven or right seats . That is a minimum for us. We think we are going to challenge right across the country .”