Left-wing alliance agrees on local election policy

Candidates believe they can dent Labour in the ballot box

Representatives from the left-wing alliance, Nicola Curry of People Before Profit Alliance, Michael O’Brien of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, Pat Dunne with United Left Alliance, Brendan Young of Independent Community Solidarity and Mick Finnegan of the Workers Party, signing a transfer pact for the local elections. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Representatives from the left-wing alliance, Nicola Curry of People Before Profit Alliance, Michael O’Brien of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, Pat Dunne with United Left Alliance, Brendan Young of Independent Community Solidarity and Mick Finnegan of the Workers Party, signing a transfer pact for the local elections. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Tue, May 13, 2014, 19:48

A loose left-wing alliance of 100 local-election candidates have signed up to an agreement on vote transfers and opposition to austerity measures ahead of the forthcoming poll.

Launching their pledge today, representatives of the People Before Profit Alliance, the Workers Party, United Left, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and a number of Independents claimed voter apathy with establishment politics will lead to significant breakthroughs for the left vote, with Labour the most likely casualty.

They cited growing frustration among the electorate with spending cuts and taxation, but dismissed the idea a fractured left was problematic.

“If you have a marriage where everybody is saying the same thing then only one person is doing the thinking,” said Nicola Curry, People Before Profit’s Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown candidate.

She said fostering healthy, open debate in the context of broader synchronised politics would ultimately trump the “yes men” model currently in place.


Fight cuts
The pledge includes a promise to oppose water and property charges; to fight cuts and austerity measures; and not to enter into coalition with parties who have accepted those approaches.

It also includes an undertaking to “promote policies which unite ordinary people”, resisting divisions on race, creed and gender.

While sharing wider social policy views with Sinn Féin, the candidates say they are more about fostering grassroots resistance and using the growing antipathy in the electorate to build a solid community base opposed to “old-style” politics.


Control
Pat Dunne, outgoing United Left councillor for Dublin City Council, said the chamber “has been controlled by Labour and Fine Gael for decades. That control looks like it’s going to fall and what replaces it has to be some form of coherent anti-austerity, left grouping.”

“There is a possibility that such a grouping, if we can agree to a budgetary strategy, can effectively take control of Dublin City Council and other councils around the country, and that has to be the aim of coming together in a pledge.”

The launch also heard from Michael O’Brien (AAA), Mick Finnegan (WP) and Brendan Young (Ind).