By Matt Waine
MANY PEOPLE will look to the local and European elections on 5 June to punish the Fianna Fail/Green Party government. The Socialist Party is standing in the local and European elections to offer working people a real alternative to job losses, wage cuts and the running down of our public services like health and education. Our candidates have a record that is second to none in fighting for the interests of workers and their communities.
In SR Technics 1,100 are to lose their jobs. Cllr Clare Daly (Swords) and Joe Higgins (Castleknock and Euro election) have campaigned to save all the jobs, calling for the company to be re-nationalised.
In Dublin Bus, SIPTU shop steward and Socialist Party candidate in Swords, John McCamley is leading the fight against job losses and attacks on workers’ pay and conditions. In the civil service and public sector, Denis Keane (Mulhuddart) and Terry Kelleher (Balbriggan) are leading the fight with others in the CPSU against the pension levy and cuts in workers’ wages.
Socialist Party activists also responded to Brian Lenihan’s infamous attack on pensioners’ medical cards with Cllr. Mick Barry (Cork North Central) organising a protest march of over 3,000 people in Cork.
Socialist Party Councillors Clare Daly and Ruth Coppinger, a member of the ASTI, put a motion to Fingal County Council condemning the education cuts, which was passed unanimously, and organised a lively protest by teachers, parents and children outside the council office. Our candidates have organised meetings in the local areas trying to organise teachers, parents and students in a campaign to fight the attacks.
Socialist Party candidates are also the best fighters in the communities. As the government threatens to re-introduce water charges, no other party has a record like ours in opposing double taxation. We led a campaign that resulted in the scrapping of water charges in the 1990s and also campaigned against the bin tax which, as we predicted, has risen each year since its introduction.
We have organised campaigns in many communities against notorious estate management companies who charge exorbitant fees. Cllr Mick Murphy (Tallaght) has campaigned on the issue of rented accommodation, forcing landlords to meet their obligations in terms of maintainance and the quality of their properties. He was also the only councillor to oppose the Tallaght Town centre plan which resulted in 6,000 apartments with no community facilities.
The responsibility for the current economic crisis lies at the feet of the bankers, big builders and developers through their profiteering in property. They were assisted and encouraged by councillors from all the main parties who rezoned land in the interest of the developers. Socialist Party councillors have an unblemished record of opposing every single rezoning where necessary infrastructure, such as community centres, creches and schools, was not provided.
For the Socialist Party the local elections are an opportunity to explain our socialist alternative to the crisis of capitalism, and a platform to assist workers in getting organised to defend their wages, jobs and conditions. We will be standing 11 candidates across the country in the local elections. Joe Higgins will be standing in the Dublin constituency for the European elections.
On 5 June, elect Socialist Party candidates who are guaranteed to work with your community to oppose the government and the employers’ attempts to make working people pay for the crisis.