Solidarity-PBP unimpressed with presidential hopefuls

Alliance says it will organise a day of mass action against housing and homelessness

Bríd Smith, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Mick Barry of the Solidarity-People Before Profit alliance at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Bríd Smith, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Mick Barry of the Solidarity-People Before Profit alliance at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Solidarity-People Before Profit has said it has no plans at present to support any candidate in the presidential election, including incumbent Michael D Higgins.

Richard Boyd-Barrett, one of the alliance’s TDs, said no candidate had emerged to whom it could give its backing.

“We are not clear who the candidates will be. It is also less clear in many cases why they are running and what they stand for, or are offering,” he said.

“It is not a major priority for us. We will certainly look at the agenda or the platform of any candidate who approaches us.”

The alliance held a meeting on Tuesday ahead of the resumption of the Dáil and Seanad next week, at which it said it would support a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

To that end the group said it would organise a day of mass action against housing and homelessness on October 3rd.

The Sinn Féin motion, even if backed by the six members of the alliance, has no prospect of success as Fianna Fáil has already indicated it will not support it.

“This Government has failed in the most elemental obligations and tasks of government, which is to put an affordable roof over citizens, give fair access to public services and to provide decent jobs,” said Mr Boyd-Barrett.

“The most dire example is the worrying and escalating housing emergency … It is not an accident that this stems directly from Fine Gael favouring the needs of vulture funds and property speculators over those of hundreds of thousands of citizens to have a roof over their heads.”

Mr Boyd-Barrett and Solidarity TD Mick Barry called on the Government to break from the “addiction to the private sector” and provide an emergency programme of public and affordable housing on public lands.

Collective bargaining

Dublin South Central TD Bríd Smith referred to what she described as bogus self-employment, which left workers in low-pay situations, as a “scourge”.

“The best way is for workers to have the right to free collective bargaining,” she said.

Ruth Coppinger of Solidarity said the low level of interest in the pope’s visit was “another sign that people want the separation of church and State”.

She said abortion should be free and accessible without delays. Turning to the abortion legislation, she said she would question the definition of health in the draft law when it was debated in the Dáil.

“The legislation says serious harm to a woman, where the [all-party] committee [which reported ahead of the referendum] talked of a risk to health. I think they are two different thresholds,” she said.