Article from the July 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Socialist Party Election Victories

THE SOCIALIST Party doubled it's representation on local authorities winning four council seats on 11 June in Fingal, South County Dublin and Cork City councils.

By Michael Murphy

Councillor Clare Daly who was jailed for a month last September for opposing the bin tax retained her seat in Swords topping the poll. Michael O'Brien who was Clare's running mate received a credible 443 votes giving the Socialist Party 19.1% of the vote in Swords.

Councillor Ruth Coppinger was the first candidate elected in Mulhuddart and the only candidate in that ward to reach the quota. With her running mate Helen Redwood polling 607 votes the Socialist Party received 19.5% of the vote in this area the biggest vote for any party. Mick Murphy who was also imprisoned for opposing the bin tax topped the poll in Tallaght with 15.6% of the vote.

Mick Barry in Cork North Central was elected on the first count topping the poll with 17.47% giving the Socialist Party it's first elected public representative outside of Dublin.

The Socialist Party narrowly missed winning two more seats in Drogheda and Dublin South where our candidates Frank Gallagher (standing for the first time) and Lisa Maher both came within 80 and 83 votes respectively of victory.

In other areas we also achieved notable performances. In Howth Brian Green first time candidate got 8% of the vote and beating both Labour and Sinn Fein. In Dublin South West Inner City Diarmaid Naessens again standing for the first time received 6.6% of the vote. In Balbriggan Tadhg Kenehan standing for the first time received 3.2% of the vote and Susan Fitzgerald in Castleknock received 661 votes.

These results for the Socialist Party are very significant particularly given the big swing to Sinn Fein in many areas and the huge financial resources they pumped into their campaigns.

In many areas where we stood against Sinn Fein we actually out polled them and significantly. For example in Tallaght where they have a sitting TD and a councillor, Mick Murphy topped the poll ahead of Sinn Fein. One of the reasons for this was that they played no real role in the bin tax battle and their Councillor called on people to pay the bin charges. This was not lost on people who knew it was the Socialist Party who led the fight against the bin tax.

The Labour Party and the Greens have already showed their craven thirst for power at all costs. In Fingal a grouping of Labour, the Greens, the Socialist Party and Sinn Fein could have formed a majority on the council and dealt a massive blow to Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the PDs and the property developers they represent. However the Greens and Labour have disgracefully done a deal with Fine Gael to run the council for the next five years. This is a smack in the face to the many people who voted for these parties for change. These parties have nothing to offer working class people.

In Cork Socialist Party Councillor Mick Barry used his "maiden" speech in the council to expose Labour who only days after taking down their posters asking people to give the government the red card voted to elect a Fianna Fail mayor for the city.

The Socialist Party has no illusions that we will fundamentally change things just by getting councillors or TDs elected. We will use our new public positions to fight the right wing parties inside and outside the council chambers. Most importantly we will use these positions to assist the mobilisation of working people against the re-introduction of water charges or corrupt planning and rezoning decisions or any anti-working class attacks that come from this government and their local authority cronies.

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