New party to campaign on anti-austerity ticket
Left-wing alliance will contest local elections on May 23rd
Cllr Mick Barry said part of the new party’s platform would be to get people to give it an electoral mandate to campaign against water charges when they were introduced this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
left-wing political party has been launched to contest local elections under the banner of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA).
The party has grown out of groups that have protested against the household charge and property tax in recent years. About half the members are of the Socialist Party, with the rest non-aligned or moving from other parties.
Some six of its candidates and dozens of supporters participated in a media event in Dublin yesterday, where the party set out its aims and strategy for the local elections on May 23th.
Cllr Mick Barry (Cork) said all its candidates were part of the successful boycott campaign of the household charge in 2013, and had also opposed the property tax when it was introduced.
He said part of its platform would be to get people to give it an electoral mandate to campaign against water charges when they were introduced this year.
‘Fifth largest force’
The party has registered with the Standards in Public Office Commission as a political party, and Mr Barry, as well as candidate in Shannon Seónaidh Ní Shíomóin, predicted it would be “potentially the fifth largest force in Irish politics” after May 23th.
Asked about its relationship with the Socialist Party or whether the alliance was a flag of convenience, Mr Barry said a small majority of its candidates were not members of the Socialist Party.
A Limerick candidate, former councillor Joe Harrington, argued that standing under an alliance banner was the best solution.
“I’m well aware that Independents and mavericks, while providing entertainment at times, are not really the solution.”
Asked how the grouping differed from the United Left Alliance, Mr Barry and Michael O’Brien, a candidate for Donaghmede in Dublin, both said the ULA had been formed out of existing parties, while the AAA had grown out of grassroots campaigning groups.