THE two Independent candidates who have declared their candidacy in Limerick in the upcoming election have ruled themselves out of the Right2Change voting pact.
Cllr Emmett O’Brien, who is tipped to do well in the rural Limerick constituency, and anti-water charges activist Mary Honan, running in the city, say they will not join the movement, which includes Sinn Fein, and a number of left-leaning Dail deputies.
The aim of the movement is to build up a alternative in Ireland, with left-wing candidates persuading those who vote for them to give further preferences to candidates with similar ideologies.
But the Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit have already declined to take part, saying Sinn Fein is using it to forward their own agenda.
And the newly formed Social Democrats are also not taking part in the pact.
Cllr O’Brien, a former member of Fianna Fail’s national executive, confirmed he would not be subscribing the Right2Change transfer pact.
He said: “I am not interested in entering any pre-election pact with any grouping whether they are ideologically to the left, or ideologically of the right. I am a centrist politician. I am a practical, credible Independent. I have been that way in the council. I have voted with all parties and none on issues and I feel as an Independent, non-aligned candidate.”
The Independent councillor hopes by taking this approach, he will – if elected – be able to deliver real benefits to the county.
“It will give me the benefit after the election in the event the people trust me with their vote and I get elected, that I get the best deal for Limerick, which is the main idea and the main purpose of getting elected,” he added.
Garryowen-based Independent candidate Ms Honan, who is broadly left-wing in her outlook, also said she would not be interested in entering the Right2Change pact.
This comes despite the fact that, if she did, she could potentially benefit from Cllr Maurice Quinlivan’s transfers, if Sinn Fein’s local leader polls very strongly. “The way I feel about it is if people want to vote for me, they will vote for me. If they feel I am genuine and I am really trying to help them, they will vote for me. I would rather fight my own corner and stand on my own policies rather than agree with others. It would not be in my nature,” she said.
However, Cllr Seamus Browne, who is running for Sinn Fein in the county, thinks local Independents would be well advised to join Right2Change.
He said: “It is there to offer an alternative to the failed Fianna Fail-Fine Gael-Labour options of the past. The more support which comes in around it, the better chance it has to succeed to bring around a proper left-right divide in Irish politics.”