People Before Profit splits with Anti-Austerity Alliance on pact

Right2Change briefing reveals discord between election partners on left-wing alliance

People Before Profit has signed up to a left-wing electoral alliance while its election partner, the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), has not, according to a Right2Change briefing.

At the election event in Dublin on Saturday, the Right2Change movement also said it hoped to identify three candidates in each constituency who were supportive of its policy principles.

Right2Change is a coalition of community activists that is supported by five trade unions - Unite, Mandate, Opatsi, the Communications Workers’ Union and the Civil and Public Services Union.

It grew out of the anti-water charges movement.

At a conference in June, it drew up a policy document, Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government, which called for the right to decent work, an end to the banks’ veto on mortgage resolutions and the abolition of water charges

At Saturday’s briefing, Brendan Ogle, of the Unite trade union and a leading figure in the Right2Change movement, and Dave Gibney of Mandate outlined which parties and Independents had signed up to this policy platform as part of an electoral alliance.

Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Communist Party of Ireland, Direct Democracy Ireland and the National Citizens Movement had aligned themselves with Right2Change.

Six Independent TDs - Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Mick Wallace, Thomas Pringle, Tommy Broughan, and Séamus Healy had signed up.

Independent councillors Paul Hand (Dublin), Cieran Perry (Dublin), Francis Timmons (South Dublin), Pat Kavanagh (Wicklow), Joanne Pender (Kildare) and Brendan Young (Kildare) had aligned themselves with Right2Change.

Other Independent candidates in the forthcoming election - Michael O’Gorman (Kerry), Barbara Smyth (Longford-Westmeath) and Declan Bree (Sligo) had also signed up.

Parties that did not sign up were the AAA, the Workers’ Party and the Social Democrats.

Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party, Renua and Fianna Fáil were not invited to join the electoral alliance as they favour water charges.

In its response to the invitation, the AAA said that while it “generally supports the reforms outlined in the policy principles”, it believed that realising them would “necessitate going much further than the projected spending increases” in the movement’s fiscal document.

It said the reforms went far beyond what the current political system would allow.

It also said that it disagreed with the movement’s support of the Good Friday Agreement, which had institutionalised sectarian divisions in the North.

However, People Before Profit said it would “support the formation of a left-first government that will incorporate fully the Right2Water principles.

“Should the numbers allow we will enter discussions with others on forming such a government.”

Sympathetic candidates

At the briefing, Mr Ogle said he hoped three sympathetic candidates - one from Sinn Féin, one from another party and one Independent - would be identified in each constituency to provide voters who are “hungry for change with a choice of candidates”.

The movement said it would not tell voters to whom they should transfer votes.

Candidates aligned to the Right2Change platform would be advertised in each constituency and supported by the movement’s structures and activists .

Mr Ogle also indicated that he was a likely Independent candidate in the forthcoming general election.

When asked if he would run, Mr Ogle said: “It is clear that we need more Independent candidates in many constituencies.

“That will require more Independent candidates coming forward, who have never previously considered that that is something they might do.”

He identified his native Louth and Dublin West, where he lives, as constituencies in which he could run.

“I am giving consideration to requests I have received to be one of a number of people who will go forward as Independents-for-change candidates.

“If I believe there is a momentum for any of the communities where I think we have bases then I think it behoves myself and others to give that serious consideration.”