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Alternative Ulster, Alternative Europe

Declan O'Neill


 

 

With both Ian Paisley and John Hume surrendering their European seats the outcome of the Euro elections was far more difficult to call than in previous elections.  The four “mainstream parties”   Sinn Fein, the SDLP on the nationalist side, the Ulster Unionists and the DUP on the unionist,  were fighting for supremacy, first within their “own communities” and then to establish which community is dominant by taking  two of the provinces three seats.

 

This time there was an alternative.   Posters of the Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA)  could be seen tied  to lampposts all over the six counties.  The (SEA)  stood on a platform “that puts people and the planet before profit and war”. It challenged the view that international issues have nothing to do with politics in the north of Ireland – for the SEA Iraq is the biggest issue though not the only one.

 

In brief the SEA manifesto calls for:

-         a Europe based on solidarity and cooperation.

-         US led forces out of Iraq

-         for workers rights and opposition to privatisation

-         for the free movement of people and opposition to all forms of discrimination

-         replacing the ugliness of capitalism with a decent, sane and socialist world.

 

Standing for the SEA in last November’s assembly elections Eamonn McCann achieved almost 3000 votes ( 5.5% of the first preference) in his home constituency of Foyle (Derry).   This was the first time  the SEA had stood in a province wide election, and given the almost total exclusion of any candidates other than the “big four” from television coverage in NI, the 9,172 votes (1.67%) achieved by Eamonn McCann was a creditable result.  

 

However, the big winner in this election was Sinn Fein.   Their candidate Barbara De Brun won 144, 541 votes (26.3%) of the total, second behind the DUP, and was elected on the first count.   Sinn Fein for the first time has a Euro MEP, and is now clearly the dominant political force within the “nationalist community”.

 

 

Links

Visit the SEA website   

www.socialistenvironmentalalliance.org

:Eamonn McCann has an article in this months Red Pepper.

www.redpepper.org.uk

Read Declan's piece on South of the border here.

   

 

June 2004

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