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Independent socialist deputy Seamus Healy has announced plans to work towards setting up a new left-wing political party, in response to Labour's weekend decision to enter a pre-election alliance with Fine Gael.


The Tipperary South TD said that various left-wing groups and individuals have held talks in the last 12 months about such a project. "All these groups and individuals are based in the workers' and trade union movement", he said.


"They have a strong track record of campaigning on community and trade union issues such as the bin tax, tax equity, poverty, inadequate health services, opposition to privatisation, anti-war activity, opposition to racism and participation in social forums for global justice."


Mr Healy, along with Independent Dublin city councillor Joan Collins and Des Derwin, vice-president of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, will announced their plans at a press conference in Dublin. In a statement they condemned what they said was "the Labour preparation for yet another coalition" and called for "urgent discussion on the need for a new Independent party of the left".


They said discussions about a possible "regroupment" on the left had included Mr Healy's own organisation, the South Tipperary Workers' and Unemployed Action Group; the Dublin-based Community and Workers' Action Group; the Irish Socialist Network; the supporters of Red Banner magazine; and a number of individual activists and independent socialists.


"The discussions centred on the creation of an independent left regroupment free of careerism and free of subordination to conservative parties such as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The ultimate objective would be creation of a popular movement led by a new political party to represent and organise working people, the statement said.


"The discussions were given urgency by the refusal of the Labour Party to lead an alliance of the left and its undivided commitment to coalition."


Mr Healy said these groups were committed to linking up campaigns in different parts of the country on issues such as "poverty, exploitation and right-wing policies. Through this and other activities they will advance the need for an independent political party of the left.


"There is no proposal at this time to declare the formation of a new party, to set up a new left wing group or to provide an umbrella for existing groups. Participating groups will continue to run candidates in elections as heretofore. We would welcome expressions of interest from groups or individuals with a track record of involvement in popular campaigns," Mr Healy said.




June 2005


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