Article from the May 2004 edition, Socialist Voice
"The anti bin tax campaign is an example of how the Socialist Party is different. While many parties will claim to be opposed to double taxation and may have voted against the bin tax, it was the Socialist Party reps. along with residents who built a mass campaign in the communities. We don't believe it is good enough to vote against an issue in the council chamber and then leave people to the consequences if the vote is lost."
Proven campaigners who make a difference
The Socialist Party is standing 14 candidates in Dublin, Cork, Drogheda, Limerick and Letterkenny. As grass roots campaigners, the Socialist Party represents a different kind of politics to those in the establishment and the so-called opposition. Our public representatives have worked with residents on many issues, including planning matters, opposition to mobile phone masts, and the bin tax - organising hundreds of public meetings and countless campaigns.
We are the only party that takes the issues from the communities into the Council Chamber, and vice-versa, organising people to affect issues rather than accepting the status quo.
The anti bin tax campaign is an example of how the Socialist Party is different. While many parties will claim to be opposed to double taxation and may have voted against the bin tax, it was the Socialist Party representatives along with residents who built a mass campaign in the communities. We don't believe it is good enough to vote against an issue in the council chamber and then leave people to the consequences if the vote is lost.
It is now very clear that there will be a real attempt to re-introduce water charges possibly in the next year. This attempt will be met by a mass campaign of ordinary people in which the Socialist Party will play a key role. We have proven what we could do with one TD and two Councillors. If we were to increase our representation on councils it would be a bigger platform from which to organise.
In Fingal, where we are standing seven candidates in five wards, we are confident that we can win extra positions to join Councillors Ruth Coppinger and Clare Daly on the Council.
Many areas like Blanchards-town, Balbriggan and Clonee have seen massive development and huge increases in population but the necessary infrastructure has not been put in place. The Fingal development plan which is being debated at the moment is a further indication why it's time for change in Fingal: the needs of the developers and big business who finance Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are looked after but the needs of ordinary people and their communities always play second fiddle.
Socialist Party reps. in the area have organised countless local meetings informing residents of the Council's plans, helping them get organised and building campaigns of political pressure. In Howth and Baldoyle, Brian Greene has organised an effective campaign against planned in fill housing that will suffocate communities by taking away their open space. Cllr. Ruth Coppinger, Helen Redwood and Susan Fitzgerald exposed the plan to develop the green belt in Clonsilla. Cllr. Clare Daly and Tadhg Kenehan warned residents in Rush of the planned redevelopment of their area.
The campaigning approach of the Socialist Party has delivered results because we don't trust establishment party Councillors (or anyone else) to deliver things for us - they have a long record of promising things before elections and doing the opposite after! Just remember the introduction of bin charges after the last council elections...
We base ourselves on people power, on getting the information out to residents and helping communities get organised. Be it against the construction of a mobile phone mast next to the school in Rivervalley, Swords; for traffic calming measures in Marylands, the Liberties, or Gurranabraher, Cork; the long promised reconstruction of derelict flats in Rosemount, Dundrum; our representatives stand out from all other parties because they are known as proven campaigners. Our presence in the communities is not limited to the four weeks before polling day.
The Socialist Party also has a proud record of defending workers' rights. Mick Barry fought to increase pay rates for home helps from £1.40 an hour to nearly 10 euro an hour. Clare Daly, shop steward, is a tireless campaigner against the job cuts and the plans to sell off Aer Lingus. Frank Gallagher, our candidate in Drogheda, is a longstanding trade union activist. Ashling Golden's election campaign in Limerick is highlighting young workers' rights.
Electing Socialist Party candidates would be a massive step forward in local areas and give working people a voice on the Council on the issues that concern them. It would also be a big blow to the establishment parties at local and national level.