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Opportunities for Strategic and Political Advances should be Embraced, not Squandered – Kearney

30 October, 2015

Sinn Féin Chairperson Declan Kearney has said that the current opportunities facing the Left and progressive entities in Irish politics should be embraced and not squandered, saying that there is a real chance to shift the balance of power in Irish politics with perhaps the chance to form a coalition government with republican, left and progressive programmes at its heart.

Mr. Kearney said:

“The Syriza party remains in power after a referendum and a second election, despite the opposition of the most conservative power elites in Europe.  The nature of that opposition remains as austerity and weakening Syriza’s opposition to its enforcement.

“The anti-democratic character and unswerving allegiance to austerity ascendant with the EU, is now intervening again in the democratic process of Portugal. The political establishment there has rejected the electoral mandate of the Socialist party, Left Bloc and the Community Party to form a left coalition.

“President Silva has said he would not be able to give power to ‘anti-European partisan forces’. That was in response to Angela Merkel’s assertion that an anti-austerity government would be a ‘very negative’ development.

“There is no surprise in any of this. The conservative right are now on an offensive across Europe to entrench inequality as a means of social control.

“A new battle of ideas is now in play over how and in whose interests the political economy of Europe should be organised.

“Whilst conservative and right wing forces have become electorally resurgent, new left wing, and popular progressive parties have begun to emerge.

“A sea change has occurred within the British Labour Party and its membership has grown to exceed 500,000 members. Politically the British Labour leadership now endorses an unambiguous anti-austerity political programme.

“For the British and Irish governments and economic elites they represent, Sinn Féin poses the greatest threat to the status quo north and south.

“An all-island economy under democratic control does not suit the EU and international finance capital.

“Sinn Féin in government north and south would be counter to those interests.

“Republican objectives will only be successfully advanced through having political power and being in government in the north and south.

“That presupposes a unity on the Irish left which shifts the electoral centre of gravity towards forming a coalition government with republican, left and progressive programmes at its heart.

“Recently, such engagement has occurred in the south under the umbrella of the Right2Change campaign. This process resulted in the launch of the Right2Change Ten Policy Principles and a fiscal framework.

“Currently the potential exists to concretise a political realignment in the south. Now political discussions and agreement are needed on the required political and electoral alliances.

“There should be political agreement to maximise transfers between candidates who support the Right2Change principles and fiscal framework

“The Irish progressive left has to consider carefully the consequence of failure to successfully challenge the dominance of Irish conservatism and its allegiance to EU Troika ideology.  It also needs to recognise and apply strategic lessons from the recent experience of Greece, Catalonia and Portugal.

“The progressive left in Ireland has an opportunity in the next general election to make important strategic and political advances. It should be embraced, not squandered.” 

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