Irish Republican News · October 10, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: New political merger announced amid election fever
New political merger announced amid election fever

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Speculation has mounted that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny could announce a general election in the 26 Counties for November after he repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility this weekn when questioned by journalists.

Kenny’s coalition partners, Labour, favour a poll next year after the benefits of next Tuesday’s blowout giveaway budget take full effect.

However, senior Fine Gael figures have suggested that Kenny could reveal the date as early as this weekend, pointing out that it is within his sole constitutional power to do so.

“There is no constitutional or legal impediment to the Taoiseach acting unilaterally. It is a decision for him to make,” declared Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan

Fine Gael’s Finance Minister, Michael Noonan is currently at the heart of a major scandal over the allegedly corrupt sale of nationalised assets by the state’s bad bank, and is said to be demanding an election as soon as possible.

Fine Gael officials are also keen to avoid a date in 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising, fearing that support for Sinn Fein is likely to grow due to increased media interest in the struggle for freedom 100 years ago.

The opposition parties have made it clear they are prepared for a November election.

This week the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit formally joined forces to form a new left-wing party. They set a target of at least seven seats in the next Dail and notably left open the possibility of supporting Sinn Fein in government.

It is the latest new alignment in Irish politics following the formation last month of another new party, the Social Democrats, by a number of left-leaning independents.

The latest grouping, to be known as Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit (AAA-PBP), could become a major player in Irish politics with plans to contest 27 constituencies.

TDs Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy and Ruth Coppinger attended a press conference in a Dublin city centre hotel on Thursday, saying they were preparing for a November election. Outgoing TD Joe Higgins, who supports the merger, was in the audience.

Mr Boyd Barrett described the development as “hugely significant” and said he was confident it would be greeted with enthusiasm by people who had protested against water charges and other issues.

He accused Labour of having “cruelly betrayed” the aspirations of working people.

“For the first time really in the history of Irish politics there is going to be a substantial national force to the Left of the Labour Party offering people a serious alternative to austerity,” he said.

Mr Murphy said a political revolution was under way across Europe, and insisted AAA-PBP would never enter a coalition with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour or Renua.

“Such a coalition will only betray the hopes of working class people again as the experience of Labour going into coalition over and over again has demonstrated,” Mr Murphy said.

SF ALTERNATIVE

Meanwhile, the Sinn Fein leadership branded the election speculation as a “con-job” and a “distraction” as the party revealed its alternative budget.

Asked about the continued rumours about the upcoming date of the election, Donegal TD Pearse Doherty was dismissive of the focus on the date.

“I think it’s a con-job from the government,” he said.

“I think they’re spinning the media and others abut the election date. There’s far more headlines written about whether the election is going to be in November or February or March compared to people who’ve died on our streets as a result of homelessness or people on trolleys in hospitals.”

Launching their economic proposals, party leader Gerry Adams said that the electorate have a clear choice.

The party’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said that the document was an “ambitious programme” that seeks to “put families and their children first”.

The plan includes a total spending programme of 1.7 billion euro, while scrapping water charges and the property tax.

The party wants to remove 100,000 workers from the Universal Social Charge by exempting workers earning below 19,572 euro. It would be paid for by an increase in taxes on those earning over 100,000 euro.

“These are costed proposals which show that there is a choice,” Mr Adams said. “That surely there’s a choice facing the government when it brings forward its budget, and when the Taoiseach calls the election there will be a choice facing the electorate.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News