The Workers Party have called for greater cooperation amongst the principled left which should ultimately lead to the formation of a left-wing government in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the Party’s Election Manifesto,
Waterford councillor John Halligan said:
“Neither a FF led coalition, nor a FG led coalition is capable of making the radical and substantive changes in policy which will make for real change and improvement in the lives of working class people and their families”.
“Much has been commented upon as to how wealthy and successful our economy has become. But for hundreds of thousands of workers and their families life is a daily grind. Crippled by a growing list of stealth taxes, unable to afford a mortgage, unable to access the health service, and living with crime and anti-social behaviour! That is just a small part of what they have to put up with. What has a Fianna Fail or a Fine Gael led government to offer these people?”.
“The only hope for working class people and their families is for a left wing led government which will represent not just a change of image but a change of policy as well. Across the entire spectrum there is an urgent need for radical policy change and the Workers’ Party is proud to offer such an alternative to the people of Ireland”.
“Where the Workers’ Party are not standing candidates we will give support to other left and progressive candidates on a constituency by constituency basis.”, said Councillor Halligan.
Full Text of Cllr Halligan's Speech appended below.
Speech by Cllr. John Halligan, Workers Party Vice President, at the launch of his party’s General Election Manifesto. Buswell’s Hotel, Wed 16th May @ 11.00am
The Workers Party are offering voters in this election a democratic and socialist alternative. Our appeal is to the hundreds of thousands of citizens in Ireland today for whom the story of the Celtic Tiger has passed them by.
Much has been written about how successful and wealthy as a nation we have become. All manner of economic indicators have been selectively quoted to demonstrate that all is well. It is claimed that as a nation we have never had it better. The choice in this election as to whom or what combination of parties will form the next government is merely a matter of who best can manage the present “successful state of affairs”.
The Workers Party reject this view either as to the economic well being of our people or the composition of the next government.
The Workers Party is a party of the working class and it is the interests of the working class whom we seek to serve. Across the country workers and their families struggle on a daily basis in the face of an economic system which has failed them and condemns them to a life of grind and hardship.
The competing coalition parties may talk of economic prosperity and of how best to manage a successful and wealthy country, but for workers and their families the reality of life is hugely different.
Across the country sprawling housing estates lack the most basic of public amenities and are the breeding ground for vicious drug gangs, an out of control drug and alcohol culture amongst young people which is the cause of premature death and untold misery for working class families. Anti social behaviour and crime, an everyday occurrence in working class estates is the result of alienation of young people from a social system which has failed them.
Educational disadvantage is a permanent feature of our educational system. School buildings are in an appalling state, classrooms overcrowded and teachers are denied the resources they need. The prospect of a university place for working class children remains a distant dream.
The chaos of the Health service disproportionately affects working class people who are much more likely because of their social conditions to be in ill health and in need of medical services. The Health service is increasingly being pushed into greater privatisation and a service for profit rather than public need.
The plight of the elderly in our society who are increasingly marginalised and penalised is another cause for concern.
All these and more, transport, the environment, employment, poverty and taxation, Irish foreign policy are addressed in this manifesto.
It is not a case of setting out the woes of our society necessary though that is. The right wing parties deny the existence of this side of Irish life and ignore the many studies from European bodies which indicate that Ireland is amongst the lowest of European countries in spending on essential services and amongst the highest in terms of poverty, educational disadvantage and social exclusion.
All of this is the result of right wing policies being followed in government. It is time for change and for a left wing government with new and different policies and priorities.
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael should combine as they are natural coalition parties with no real difference between them in their political outlook and economic philosophy.
It is the task of the left to create an alternative to FF/FG and the PDs, which will deliver improvement and real change in the lives of working class people.
Where The Workers Party is not standing candidates we will offer support and No 1 votes for other left and progressive candidates.
The Workers Party wishes to see the greatest possible co operation on the organised and principled left which will result in a principled left led government as an alternative to the right wing parties. Only such a government can give any hope to working class people and their families that real change is possible.
Key positions and areas of agreement for a new principled left would include:
• A fair and equitable tax system which removes the many shelters and loopholes which allow the very wealthy and high earning professionals to minimise their tax liability.
• An end to privatisations of public services and state bodies.
• An end to the two tier health system and the provision of a comprehensive health service free at the point of delivery and funded from taxation.
• Free educational opportunity for all.
• The provision of quality public authority housing.
• The immediate implementation of the Kenny Report on the price of building land.
• An end to the give-away of our oil, gas and mineral resources to multinational corporations and the development of our natural resources in the public interest.
• Opposition to sectarianism and segregation in Northern Ireland and opposition to racism throughout the country.
• Promotion of an equality agenda in relation to race, gender and the promotion and defence of the rights of people with disabilities and their carers.
• Greater democratisation and reform of the European Union institutions.
• An end to the use of Shannon airport by the US for the transportation of troops to Iraq and the illegal renditions and torture by the CIA.
• An environment policy which puts the needs of community before the dictates of inter-
national capital, which takes account of the most recent scientific evidence in relation to global warming, and which adheres to the principles and goals as set out in the Kyoto protocol.
• A transport policy which defends and expands public transport and prioritises the needs of communities over corporate profit or greed.