Sinn Féin to agree pact with left-wing parties and Independents
Party signs up to broad policy principles of those in anti-water charges movement
Sinn Féin is to enter into a vote transfer arrangement with parties and Independents who have signed up to a left-wing platform, although some will not return the favour by asking their voters to transfer to Gerry Adams’s party.
Sinn Féin will announce this week that it has signed up to a number of broad policy principles drafted by those behind the anti-water charges movement and ask its supporters to transfer to others who support the initiative.
Party sources say supporters will be asked to continue their preferences for other parties and Independents who have signed up to the Right2Change policy principles. One source also said Sinn Féin signing up to this approach will create a “new dynamic” for the election.
The party believes those who sign up to the Right2Change approach will offer the electorate a left-wing proposition not available from any other parties or alliances.
However, Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy has said he will not ask supporters to transfer to Sinn Féin.
Right2Change’s principles have been drafted by a number of unions, such as Unite, the Communications Workers’ Union, the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) and Mandate.
A document outlining its approach says the organisation looks forward to “the prospect of electing the first left-led government in the history of the State”.
Its proposals include: a commitment to eliminate the deficit by 2020; prioritising social and economic investment; doubling public investment; higher taxes on wealth and capital; the abolition of water charges and changes to European fiscal rules.
Sinn Féin only decided to subscribe to the approach at a meeting of its ardchomhairle in recent weeks, and the move is expected to be announced by Dublin Central deputy Mary Lou McDonald, possibly as early as Tuesday.
Ms McDonald, along with Senator David Cullinane and Cllr Daithí Doolan, spoke to the Right2Change group on behalf off Sinn Féin. While a number of parties and Independents have signed up to the broad goals, the specifics of policies can differ between individual parties. One Sinn Féin source suggested the goals were aims, rather than definitive commitments.
The Right2Change group already includes the People Before Profit and Socialist Party-Anti Austerity Alliance.
While Sinn Féin is expected to ask its voters to transfer to others in the Right2Change movement others signing up to the principles are divided on whether they will reciprocate Sinn Féin’s transfer offer.
“It’s up to the People Before Profit and AAA,” said a Sinn Féin source.
McDonald calls for left-wing parties to cooperate
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said it would be unforgivable if other left-wing parties did not come together under the common Right2Change banner.
The party has signed up to the transfer plan drafted by the Right2Change campaign which will ask supporters to continue their vote preferences for other left-wing parties and independents - which could include People Before Profit, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and the Social Democrats.
Deputy McDonald today outlined the party's response to Right2Change, a broad coalition of trade unions, civil society organisations, progressive political parties and independents stemming from the Right2Water movement.
She confirmed Sinn Féin's support for the broad policy platform agreed by Right2Change.
Deputy McDonald said: "The Right2Water movement has evolved and grown from the initial sole concern around water charges to other issues.
"As a result of very long discussions and consultations, broad policy principles have been agreed which we in Sinn Féin are happy sign up to and to endorse.
"This policy provides a space for political parties and progressive independent candidates and a platform to fight the next election."
The Tánaiste has claimed political parties and independents planning to contest the next election under the Right2Change policy platform have fallen out before they even got to the church.
Joan Burton criticised the proposals of some of the parties involved before particularly significant in employers' PRSI.
She said: "In a situation where literally we are trying to get every single person back to work, I wonder to be honest about the wisdom of some of the proposals".
People Before Profit Leader Richard Boyd Barrett said the aligning of parties to the Right2Change group still had to be finalised.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said he expected this to happen in the next few days.
He said too that he is open to the principle to some type of voting pact between the parties involved.
The Right2Change policy platform is backed by six trade unions.