Sinn Féin must not abandon promises, Boyd Barrett warns

TD says party will be judged on whether they ‘jump for government’ after general election

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said Sinn Féin will be judged on whether or not they “jump for government” and abandon their promises after the general election.

He conceded there were tensions between some on the left and Sinn Féin, but said he was “much calmer about the Sinn Féin question than some on the left”, during an interview for The Irish Times politics podcast, Inside Politics.

“In my area and in [a] lot of the areas where we’re active we work with Sinn Féin and others on the left around the policies and the defining question is the policy and your attitude to the policy,” he said.

“And in the end that will decide Sinn Féin’s fate. It won’t be what we say about them, it’ll be about whether they stick to the programme that they put before people around issues like water and housing or do they jump for government and abandon some of those things.

“That will define Sinn Féin’s fate.”

New party

A new left alliance?

The Dún Laoghaire TD also spoke about his bid to form a new left-wing party.

People Before Profit (PBP) and the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) will contest the general election as one unit.

“We are entering into an arrangement with the AAA which will essentially establish us as a united block in the Dáil and we will sort of run on a joint ticket in the forthcoming election.”

Mr Boyd Barrett said the PBP and AAA would run on a set of common principles, the details of which would not be difficult to predict.

“There really has been very little difference in terms of our broad policy thrust for many years and we’ve campaigned together on a whole range of things.”

He said the merged AAA and PBP will run about 40 candidates, with strong transfer pacts in areas where there are overlaps.

“The radical left is going to be represented in almost every constituency in the country and without question going to make gains,” he said.

“Now how big those gains are I don’t know, because it is about having a machine on the ground, having the forces, having candidates who have established profile. I accept those are challenges.”

He said the left had reached out to rural areas in a way that had not happened before.

“The left has never, in my opinion, been in as strong a position.”