Left-wing parties in talks on joint election platform
The Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) and People Before Profit are in "intensive discussions" on presenting a united left-wing alternative at the forthcoming general election.
The two biggest parties in the notoriously fractured left of Irish politics are locked in talks about agreeing a voting strategy and offering a joint policy programme when the country goes to the polls.
The parties have sought to form an alliance in the past, but in-fighting over policy and direction led to the collapse of those agreements.
Both parties lost out on a Dublin seat in the EU Parliament when they ran separate candidates in last year's European elections.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance ran Paul Murphy, who has since become a TD, and People Before Profit's candidate was Dublin city councillor Bríd Smith.
The two parties now hope to run more than 30 candidates in the election and offer a platform that will appeal to the growing number of left-wing water charge protesters.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Murphy said the grouping hoped to offer a left-wing "alternative to Sinn Féin".
"We are in quite intensive discussions with People Before Profit at the moment in order to try and present a clear left alternative in the next election," he said.
Ms Smith, who is a general election hopeful, said people are "sick of the fractured nature of the left".
"I think we have learned a lot from the past and it hasn't been easy, but what puts manners on the left is the people who vote for us and the people who are out marching against water charges," she said.
Ms Smith said there is a possibility of running two candidates in some constituencies and organising voting pacts.
The main concentration of candidates for both parties will be in Dublin, but Mr Murphy believes his party will "seriously challenge" for the Cork North Central constituency and Limerick City.
Both parties may also come under the Right2Water banner for the election.