THE former Mayor of Fingal has sensationally resigned from the Labour party just weeks after passing the mayoral chains on to his successor saying the party's policies in Government are 'unfair and unjust'.
Cllr. Cian O'Callaghan has publicly criticised Labour in Government in the past but now he has taken his objections a dramatic step further in resigning from the party.
'The Labour Party in Government has broken steadfast election commitments, implemented unfair and unjust policies and made choices that have benefited the rich and powerful at a huge cost to everyone else,' said Cllr. O'Callaghan.
'I disagree profoundly with the Labour Party approach in government in a long list of areas: cuts in education and health; failure to increase taxation on those most able to contribute; failure to tax appropriately our oil and gas reserves; a soft approach to developers responsible for unfinished ghost estates, pyrite-affected homes and derelict sites; a very tough approach on families struggling against home re-possessions; and the pursuit of the Dutch model of healthcare privatisation to name but a few areas.'
Cllr O'Callaghan added: 'The introduction of two budgets in a row that actually increased income inequality by targeting people on low and middle incomes was deeply unjust.
'This approach goes against what I believe is the very foundation of centre-left politics – which is to encourage more equal societies over time. More equal societies result in numerous benefits as outlined by Wilkinson and Pickett (2009) in their work The Spirit Level – Why Equality is Better for Everyone.'
The former Labour councillor said: 'In reaching this decision I would like to say that I have the upmost respect for my former Labour Party colleagues on Fingal County Council.
'For example, the Labour councillors were at their best in recent months in achieving a substantial reversal of cuts to library opening hours.
'Due to their effective representation the cuts to library opening hours will be much less severe from September onwards. Likewise I have always found Brendan Ryan to be a very effective, down to earth and practical T.D. and I wish him and the Labour Party councillors in Fingal all the best for the future.'
Outlining his plans as an independent councillor, he said: 'There is a strong need in Ireland for a broad and progressive left. This must be based on the core values of reducing income inequality; promoting not for profit models of healthcare and childcare; investing in education; and ensuring that our taxation model is fair and just.
'Empty rhetoric and slogans are of no use – we need polices that are evidence based and utilise the best models of practice from our neighbouring European countries.'
'I will be working with others over the coming months to establish a credible and mainstream left alternative to this government and I will remain as an Independent councillor on Fingal County Council.'