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Local Launches of the United Left Alliance January 14, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Details of Local Launches of the United Left Alliance here
A fairly busy schedule and I’m sure some dates will be added.
To date there are 17 candidates running under the United Left Alliance banner, with more yet to be announced.

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1. DC - January 14, 2011

Seamus Healy is running in two constituencies-“West Waterford?”

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DC - January 14, 2011

Ah Tipp South has a bit of Waterford, dont mind me

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2. RepublicanSocialist1798 - January 14, 2011

I’m guessing that candidate in Laois Offaly left Labour over their selection convention there?

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Budapestkick - January 14, 2011

What Laois/Offaly candidate?

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neilcaff - January 14, 2011

Liam Dumpleton. See this article for some of the details: http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/4772

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RepublicanSocialist1798 - January 15, 2011

Labour were always regarded as a joke in those parts. Neither will poll enough to be in the mix for a seat a mon avis.

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3. Budapestkick - January 14, 2011

Ok. Seems to be go beyond a simple selection row and the new group’s statement certainly indicates that they should be comfortable within the ULA.

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LeftAtTheCross - January 14, 2011

Not trying to be cynical here, but they would say that wouldn’t they. They’re hardly going to admit that the only reason they left was the parachutist skipping ahead of their local man, even if that was the case, it would make for bad PR and spoil their election chances. Anyhow, I trust we can be reassured that the ULA’s Thought Police gave them a good grilling and got to the truth behind their defections 🙂 In which case it’s a good development, if the LP begins to fragment along Left/Right lines.

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Budapestkick - January 14, 2011

Not living there I couldn’t possibly comment but often enough issues like that can mask deeper left/right tensions within a local organisation. So far the ULA has been fairly careful about who can run under the banner. For example Catherine Connolly was rejected because she was seen as a careerist. The ‘ULA Thought Police’ as you call it will have been careful to make sure their commitment to the programme was genuine. I personally can’t see the LP fragmenting along left/right lines as the left of Labour is so weak, meek and marginalised, though I can see ones and twos coming over to the ULA.

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Is Mise - Eoin Breathnach - January 18, 2011

Just to fill in the blanks here,

For a very long time (not just in laois/Offaly) many labour people have felt uncomfortable within the party witnessing the way it is drifting away from the left, it really was only a matter of time & the correct political alternative to be established before the real left wing socialist within the party moved to a concrete socialist alternative.
I can assure you first hand that the contact with the ULA was sought & facilitated by the members here in laios offaly & after meeting with joe higgins everyone found joe to be exactly as he has proved over the years a principled, honest, straight up man & there was no ‘thought police’ involved.
The decision to depart with Lab was not a snap decisions but was a long time coming & has been replicated across the nation within lab.
This in itself speaks volumes about the politics of lab today.
The ULA has established a coherent constituency council now comprised mainly of former labour members here in laois Offaly & the candidates campaign is immenently underway.
The organisation will build to have a credible voice for the people & not just for a party looking to maximise its votes & dail seats by compromising its core priciples in order to share power.

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Mark P - January 18, 2011

Glad to hear it Eoin.

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Budapestkick - January 18, 2011

Indeed. Nice to see this Laois/Offaly group actually getting to speak for themselves rather than being slurred as a bunch of Jackie Healy Raes by someone who knows fuck all about what’s happening on the ground there.

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DublinDilettante - January 24, 2011

Is it true that Dumpleton has been dumped by the local ULA in favour of a more left-wing candidate?

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Paul - January 18, 2011

Actually it doesnt. Up until recent weeks Dumpleton was more than happy to try to get selected as a Labour party candidate. The walk out only occurred because Labour head office imposed a candidate on them

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Paul - January 18, 2011

Budapestkick, you seem to reject the jackie healy rae analogy. Are you saying these people did not leave Labour over a recent selection convention?

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4. D_D - January 15, 2011

“For example Catherine Connolly was rejected because she was seen as a careerist.” By whom and by whom? Joe Higgins reported to the ULA activists meeting on Monday that the ULA was in discussions with other forces. Those mentioned included Catherine Connolly.

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John Cunningham - January 15, 2011

To describe Catherine Connolly as a ‘careerist’ is both facile and stupid. This is a woman – in her mid-50s, I’d say – who is standing for the 3rd time as an independent, who has been a consistent, principled and outspoken advocate for working people in Galway since she was first elected as a a councillor for Labour. Not exactly the profile of a ‘careerist’, is it? The Left Alliance should talk to Catherine Connolly – she would be a tremendous asset

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5. RepublicanSocialist1798 - January 15, 2011

Regarding Connolly; she’d be an asset if the ULA got her. I was speaking to a former FF Galway county councillor (he was also Frank Fahy’s director of elections) who reckoned that she’d easily take a seat in Galway West.

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6. neilcaff - January 15, 2011

Does anyone know the reason why Catherine Connolly left PBP? Maybe that explains the reticence between her and ULA?

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Mark P - January 15, 2011

As far as I am aware, Connolly was never in People Before Profit. She was however one of the Councillors they talked to.

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neilcaff - January 15, 2011

No she was definitely in it.
I distinctly remember being canvassed by her in the 2009 locals when I was back in Galway visiting the folks. She had PBP leaflets and was talking about the ‘minimum pledges’ that PBP were standing under.

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7. Spanish Arch - January 15, 2011

Regarding this:

“For example Catherine Connolly was rejected because she was seen as a careerist.”

To describe Catherine Connolly as a careerist is stupid and insulting.

More importantly, it is totally wrong.

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Budapestkick - January 15, 2011

You are of course correct. It was more to do with her voting through right-wing budgets while in City council. I retract the earlier statement.

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spanisharch - January 15, 2011

Regarding above comment by Budapestick:

” It was more to do with her voting through right-wing budgets while in City council. I retract the earlier statement.”

First she was too careerist, now she’s a right-winger.

Is this what we are to expect from the ULA?

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Mark P - January 15, 2011

Budapestkick has been pretty clear that he’s expressing his own opinion, rather than speaking on behalf of an organisation.

D_D has already commented that Joe Higgins said at the Dublin ULA meeting the other day that the ULA was interested in talking to a number of other individuals and groups, and Connolly was mentioned as one of them.

Personally, I’m not really familiar enough with Connolly’s record to have a strong view on her. I also don’t think it’s particularly helpful to personalise the discussion with terms like “careerist”. Let’s stick to the politics of the issue. The ULA would not regard it as acceptable for its candidates to vote for cuts budgets, for instance. I’m not sure of Connolly’s stance on that issue, and I’d be interested to hear about it rather than exchanging barbs about whether she’s a careerist or not.

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Budapestkick - January 15, 2011

Spanisharch

The two generally go hand in hand (not that I’m accusing her of either) though she was involved in right-wing electoral pacts and implementing cuts long before I called her anything.

The concern was, again, as me and JRG have both informed you, that she has participated in right-wing electoral pacts and implemented cutbacks at council level.

The ULA’s programme, which must be agreed to by all candidates and constituent parties, is very clear:

‘The ULA

1. Rejects so-called solutions to the economic crises based on slashing public expenditure, welfare payments and workers’ pay. There can be no just or sustainable solution to the crisis based on the capitalist market. Instead we favour democratic and public control over resources so that social need is prioritised over profit.

2. Those elected as part of the alliance will not do any deals or support any coalition with any of the right wing parties particularly Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. We are committed to building a mass left alternative to unite working people, whether public or private sector, Irish or migrant, with the unemployed, welfare recipients, pensioners and students in the struggle to change society.’

You can understand then why there would be question marks over her involvement.

Finally: ‘Is this what we are to expect from the ULA?

Yes, you can expect us to adhere to the agreed programme of the alliance. That’s why the programme exists.

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8. EamonnCork - January 15, 2011

I’d have to say that the snottiness expressed towards Catherine Connolly and also Declan Bree slightly surprises me. The ULA have a perfect right to choose who they want to associate with in this election but there’s no point adopting a scorched earth policy towards those on the left who get excluded. Connolly and Bree are well to the left of Labour and should either of them win a seat it would surely be a boost for the left.

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sonofstan - January 15, 2011

There seem to be conflicting views here on whether Connolly is coming with the ULA orbit or not. The ‘careerist’ slur seems unjustified wherever it originated from. Galway badly needs a leftist voice, and, for all his wonderfulness, Michael D. always looked like the TD for the Galway Arts Festival, rather than for the working-class of the city (I know that’s probably unfair). To an extent, the city has the same problem as Edinburgh has with regard to the rest of the country – for the seasonal migrating art and culture mob, it’s fantastic and friendly and lovely seafood and so on, but behind it, there’s quite chronic social conditions,low wages, poor housing, exacerbated – until recently – by house prices and rents that rivalled and sometimes exceeded Dublin, and a council that can’t even manage and maintain a safe water supply.

BTW, Eamonn – as you mentioned Bree: is there a reason why Labour have always seemed to be so weak in Sligo town?

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EamonnCork - January 15, 2011

BTW Son,
As a sports fan, have you read Dave Zirin. Extremely intelligent and stylish sports writer informed by left wing politics. There are a series of fine books of his published by Haymarket in the U.S. Well worth checking out.

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CL - January 15, 2011
Budapestkick - January 15, 2011

I should re-iterate that my above comment was ill-thought and we aren’t persuing a ‘scorched earth’ policy, merely being cautious in the early stages of what is still a fragile project that took a very long time to get off the ground. It is important to ensure that the ULA is built on a firm foundation even if that means the alliance isn’t as broad as some may have hoped.

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9. EamonnCork - January 15, 2011

I don ‘t know why really. Before Bree got in 1992 on the Spring Tide, the closest Labour came to a Sligo seat was Dan Shaw, just missing out in 1965 and even then he only got 12%. Bree himself always outscored Labour vote wise at local level which may have had something to do with it, but it is unusual. However, I’d have to say that the decision to bring in Fine Gaeler Jimmy McGarry into the party a few years back and then throw Bree out of the party for disagreeing with said interloper really put the kibosh on Labour in Sligo. At the last locals Bree got about 17% and Labour under 10%. Sinn Fein has also been strong in Sligo town which may have something to do with proximity to the border. Sligo saw some of the biggest H-Block marches for example and I’m sure Sinn Fein take away Labour support.
Bree, for my money, is an example of how persistence and hard work at grass roots level pay off. He started with just a few hundred votes in 1973 and was close to getting in as an independent
in 1989 before he linked up with Labour.
The idea that anyone running as an independent left-wing candidate in a West of Ireland town is a ‘careerist’ should draw a wry chuckle from anyone who knows the political make-up of such towns. As regards Catherine Connolly I know that she is regarded with disdain by sections of Galway’s business community. And that’s good enough for me.

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10. Jolly Red Giant - January 15, 2011

Just a couple of points of clarification –

When the SWP launched the PBP they cast a very wide net in terms of trying to bring in any local councillor who was remotely seen as an ‘alternative’ to the establishment. I don’t know if she was ever an actual member of the PBP but they did make strenuous efforts to bring her onboard.

The ULA candidacy of Catherine Connolly was opposed on the grounds of her record on Galway council of supporting cutbacks and engaging in electoral pacts with right-wing parties for the ‘spoils’ of council office. Despite this her candidacy would have been accepted if she acknowledged that such actions were not in the interests of working class people and was agreable to accept the candidate pledge of the ULA. This didn’t happen.

As for Bree – he was involved in the initial discussions that led to the agreement of the ULA programme. Why, I don’t know, but at some point after this, it appears that he backed out of the agreement and decided to run as an independent. Bree made one serious political blunder in his life – joining the LP for the 1992 election (he would have got elected without them). Not running for the ULA could be the second one.

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Pope Epopt - January 15, 2011

It is a shame about Declan Bree. Far more people would have come out to support him as part of the ULA ticket, and now he will have to rely on his usual activists. I’m guessing transfers to and from SF might go reasonably well, however.

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11. Budapestkick - January 15, 2011

Also – Cork ULA launch was a big success. Over 200 attended and 140 signed up to assist the campaign. This indicates a lot of new faces as all the left in Cork building for an event would usually manage around 50-80.

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EamonnCork - January 15, 2011

I’m glad to hear that. I wasn’t digging at you or the ULA over the Connolly issue, it’s just genuine puzzlement on my part. But, like I said, I accept that the people who have actually made the effort to set up the ULA have a perfect right to decide who they want on board. And you are right about Bree being on course to get elected in 1992. He won’t be far away this time either, it depends on whether he can keep ahead of Sean McManus of Sinn Fein, whichever of them outlasts the other should get a decent transfer.

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Alan Davis - January 18, 2011

It was indeed an interesting meeting last week. One thing I noted was the strong desire for setting up an organisation that came from the audience and which caused both RBB & MB to devote a lot of their summary time to that subject when it had been barely mentioned, if at all, in the initial presentations which had been very, very electoralist.

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12. Is Mise - Eoin Breathnach - January 18, 2011

Just to fill in the blanks here,

For a very long time (not just in laois/Offaly) many labour people have felt uncomfortable within the party witnessing the way it is drifting away from the left, it really was only a matter of time & the correct political alternative to be established before the real left wing socialist within the party moved to a concrete socialist alternative.
I can assure you first hand that the contact with the ULA was sought & facilitated by the members here in laios offaly & after meeting with joe higgins everyone found joe to be exactly as he has proved over the years a principled, honest, straight up man & there was no ‘thought police’ involved.
The decision to depart with Lab was not a snap decisions but was a long time coming & has been replicated across the nation within lab.
This in itself speaks volumes about the politics of lab today.
The ULA has established a coherent constituency council now comprised mainly of former labour members here in laois Offaly & the candidates campaign is immenently underway.
The organisation will build to have a credible voice for the people & not just for a party looking to maximise its votes & dail seats by compromising its core priciples in order to share power.

Like

Alan Davis - January 18, 2011

When exactly did the LP have a “left” programme that they have been drifting away from? And what about it made it “left”?

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LeftAtTheCross - January 18, 2011
Alan Davis - January 18, 2011

Thanks for the link – that is pretty left-wing indeed for a social democratic party.

However that makes it all the more confusing as the leap to coalition with Fine Gael only a year or so later would seem, at least on paper, to be a huge one. Unless Fine Gael in the 1980s was a very different kind of animal it would seem to indicate that the LP’s opportunism was far more important than their paper socialism.

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13. Fight the cuts - January 18, 2011

Couple of points here:

I don’t believe Cllr. Connolly was rejected from the ULA at all, let alone for careerism. Stupid comments really, as said above didn’t her name come up recently in relation to the ULA. I believe she has personal reservations about it(perhaps the notoriety of trot fall outs? I don’t know), but anyway, she is a great Cllr. and has a very good chance of getting elected.

With regards to Bree, Pope epopt, SF are not running McManus in Sligo-Nth Leitrim. Also, Bree being a member of the ULA would make absolutely no difference to his chances. SWP/SP/Pb4P are non-existent in Sligo and Bree would not need the ULA for a credibility factor, he is very well established and has his support base. The ULA tag would literally add nothing to him IMO. That is being honest about it.

Having said that, I’ve no idea why JRG would say not joining the ULA would be a massive political error, I’m sure if elected people like Bree/Connolly and other indo leftists would naturally link up with other leftists anyway.

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LeftAtTheCross - January 18, 2011

“The ULA tag would literally add nothing to him IMO.”

It’s not all about him though, is it.

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Mark P - January 18, 2011

Fight the Cuts,

I’m curious as to whether Connolly has in fact voted for cuts budgets and has in fact been part of local coalitions with FG and Labour when it came to divvying up Council positions, as has been alleged here. You seem to be familiar with her record, is it true or not? Exactly how left wing is she?

(Those are genuine questions by the way).

I agree with you that Bree and Connolly’s chances of being elected wouldn’t be altered much either way by joining or not joining the ULA.

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14. irishelectionliterature - January 19, 2011

A report of the ULA Cork Launch from the WSM site.
http://www.wsm.ie/c/emergence-ula-report-cork-launch

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