Statement on Clare Daly’s involvement in the ULA

There has been media comment regarding the position of Clare Daly TD in the United Left Alliance. The Socialist Party would like to state its position.

The Socialist Party, together with the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers’ and Unemployed Action Group, initiated the United Left Alliance (ULA) in November 2010. We have devoted considerable resources and work to the development of this Alliance. For us, the ULA is an extremely important development that can be an important step towards the building of a new, mass, working class party.

Such a party could give real political representation to working class people, provide leadership in the vital struggles against austerity, popularise anti-capitalist and socialist ideas as well as provide an important space for people to get active in left-wing politics.

The Socialist Party is committed to building the ULA on a broad and non-sectarian basis, together with all those committed to a principled left position. Despite her resignation from our party, the Socialist Party is in favour of Clare Daly being a TD for the United Left Alliance. However there are important issues, including issues of principle, relating to Clare Daly’s political support for Mick Wallace that can’t be brushed under the carpet and need to be discussed inside the ULA. The outcome of that discussion clearly could affect Clare Daly’s status in the ULA.

We feel that the ULA and its public representatives must take a principled position of not giving any political support to Mick Wallace, including opposition to any involvement by him in the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT).

Mick Wallace’s tax evasion is considered by ordinary working class people to be a very serious issue. That means that any involvement by him in this campaign represents a serious liability for the CAHWT. Equally, any connection between him and the ULA will be damaging for the ULA.

We feel that Clare Daly’s political support for Mick Wallace has already inflicted serious damage on herself, and some damage on the Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance. Unless there is a change in this situation, it will cause much more significant damage to the ULA in the future, undermining this vital project. These are real and important issues for the component groups in the ULA, their members and the individual non-aligned members of the ULA and need to be discussed by all within the ULA to a point of conclusion in the weeks ahead.

Accountability is vital in building a new left. We want Clare Daly to be a ULA TD and we accept that she is a member but because of her actions the ULA and its component parts have a right and indeed a duty to ask Clare some questions and to seek commitments on the crucial issues of concern.

Is Clare Daly going to continue to politically support Mick Wallace? Is Clare Daly going to continue to support the Loch Gorman campaign formerly involved in the CAHWT, which said today that they will continue to endorse Mick Wallace’s involvement in anti-household tax work, despite the stated opposition of the CAHWT and the ULA? Is Clare Daly going to feel freer to explicitly support Mick Wallace, beyond sitting beside him in the Dail, now that she has left the Socialist Party? At the CAHWT National Steering Committee last Saturday, Clare Daly defied the policy of the ULA as decided by consensus at the ULA Steering Committee, that ULA public representatives should support the disassociation of the CAHWT from the Loch Gorman campaign if that campaign did not agree to end its involvement with Mick Wallace. Will Clare Daly give a commitment to abide by the policies and decisions of the ULA?

Any issues or questions over Clare Daly’s status in the ULA can quite easily be resolved if Clare breaks her political alliance and connection with Mick Wallace TD, and the Socialist Party sincerely hopes that that is what she does. Asking Clare to do this isn’t unreasonable, it’s a political necessity.

We are more than willing to work constructively together with Clare Daly as a ULA TD to give representation for working class people and develop the ULA. The basis for important steps forward for the ULA and the left is clearly posed. The cuts in the HSE give a glimpse of the savagery that will be unleashed by the government in the coming budget. ULA activists are centrally involved in the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, which will be central to building a struggle and opposition to the government’s and the Troika’s austerity agenda. The potential is there for a major struggle involving tens of thousands of people against unjust taxation and austerity. This environment will provide real opportunities for the left and the ULA to develop. Being connected to Mick Wallace, which the ULA can be via Clare Daly, can only inhibit the ULA from playing the role it should in this movement.

Building the ULA on a principled left basis and with a socialist programme is the way to maximise its development from these opportunities.