Tuesday 21 November 2017

Labour must reject Fine Gael: Union

Labour should reject advances from Fine Gael and form a 'game-changing' left-leaning opposition, one of the country's top trade unions has said.

Unite claimed Labour should not be propping up a Fine Gael government planning privatisation and austerity cuts, and urged the party to hold its nerve.

Jimmy Kelly, Unite regional secretary, said Labour had an opportunity to lead an invigorated opposition with a potential 60 seats.

He said: "The people did not vote for a Fine Gael overall majority.

"Their policies on privatisation, austerity and income cuts did not attract enough support and should not now be facilitated by the tired old fallback of coalition with Labour.

"The Labour Party has an historic opportunity to become the official opposition in the 31st Dail, leading a greatly-expanded left-wing coalition.

"The prospect of a left-led government in the short-term has been greatly enhanced."

The trade union, which represents 60,000 workers, said a coalition of the left on the opposition benches would see Labour at the head, along with Sinn Fein, the United Left Alliance and like-minded independents.

He claimed Fianna Fail should not be allowed to lead the opposition after being rejected by voters.

"We can now see the end of the old and outdated political divisions that dominated Irish politics since the 1930s," Mr Kelly said.

"The political dividing line is no longer determined by Fianna Fail.

"They have been totally rejected and must not be given the oxygen of being an unwanted official opposition.

"The dividing line is now between the left and the right."

Mr Kelly said Fine Gael should negotiate with parties of a similar mindset and turn to Fianna Fail or right-wing independents as potential coalition partners.

"Labour should look to the interests of the nation and working people, create new alliances with an expanded left inside the Dail and social organisations outside.

"A Fine Gael-led government would only last two to three years. Then, finally, the goal of a left-led government can become a reality.

"Labour should hold its nerve."

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