Howlin calls for progressive unity in by-elections
7 November 2019
Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland
Speaking about the Dáil debate on moving the Writ for the four Bye-elections, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called for unity among progressive parties and independents to oppose the conservative Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil partnership government.
Brendan said: “Labour has four excellent candidates standing in these elections: John Maher in Cork North-Central; Duncan Smith in Dublin Fingal; Joanna Tuffy in Dublin Mid-West; and George Lawlor in Wexford.
“The four bye-elections move us one step closer to getting rid of the current, failing partnership government between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. I have never had any faith in this government arrangement.
“The government has failed to deliver affordable housing and has allowed record levels of child homelessness. It has presided over a shocking waste of public money on the national children’s hospital and the national broadband plan. And now it has failed to support the national broadcaster, RTÉ, despite Labour’s proposals six years ago to fix the TV licence system to sustain public service broadcasting, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.
“This government has failed to get a grip on the health portfolio. It has no plan on poverty. It has no plan to reduce the cost of living. But it still finds money to give tax cuts to top earners and the wealthy.
“These four bye-elections are not a choice between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. That is no real choice at all. At the general election in 2016, fewer than half of voters opted for either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.
“In these four bye-elections, the real choice is between progressive candidates who will deliver real change, versus conservative parties who have no desire and no ability to change this country for the better.
“In each of the four bye-election constituencies, the general election vote in 2016 for the conservatives parties was lower than the combined vote for centre or left alternatives. The majority did not support either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.
“The conservative parties do not have any right to assume that they will dominate Irish politics in the 21st century. An awful lot has changed in the last few years, and the people’s desire for further social progress and an end to economic inequality cannot be stalled forever.
“Labour has significant differences with other parties, but I would like to reach out to progressives from the centre to the left. We have our differences, but let’s unite in opposition to inequality and send a clear message to the failing conservative government that it is time for real change.
“I hope the people eligible to vote in the bye-elections will grasp this historic opportunity to take a step towards a new political alignment in Irish politics.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
In Cork North Central, the combined vote for Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Identity Ireland and Renua was 24,694 (48.3%). The remainder was 26,480 (51.8%).
In Dublin Fingal, the combined conservative vote was 28,456 (42.5%). The remainder was 31,932 (57.5%).
In Dublin Mid-West, the combined conservative vote was 18,366 (47.1%). The remainder was 24,768 (52.9%).
In Wexford, the combined conservative vote was 35,814 (49.9%). The remainder was 35,847 (50.3%).
Labour’s bye-election candidates are:
Cllr John Maher in Cork North-Central
Cllr Duncan Smith in Dublin Fingal
Cllr Joanna Tuffy in Dublin Mid-West
Mayor George Lawlor in Wexford