ANTI-Austerity Alliance (AAA) TD Paul Murphy says he believes the group can secure a Dail seat in Limerick at the next general election.
Mr Murphy was at the Absolute Hotel this Tuesday night, where 200 people heard the campaigner speak.
His visit comes just over a week after he was arrested at dawn for his part in November’s protest at Jobstown which saw Tanaiste Joan Burton trapped in a car.
Local AAA councillor Cian Prendiville said more than 50 people signed up to the group following the rally.
“It was an honour to have Paul Murphy speaking in Limerick, and the huge turnout and reception Paul got is a sign that the people of Limerick stand shoulder to shoulder with Jobstown and against political policing,” he said.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Murphy called on people to get involved with the AAA.
He said: “Now is not the time for staying on the sidelines. We need people to get active, get involved, and help us to build a major political alternative. We have to think big. Here in Limerick, you need to be making plans to ensure that the AAA win a Dail seat here in the next election. That requires a lot of work, but I believe it can be done.”
The next election in Limerick City is expected to be a close-run affair, and it is likely that Cllr Prendiville will run for the AAA in the four-seater.
Mr Murphy’s arrest last week, he says, is a sign the government are concerned at the AAA movement.
“They know we are not like the others. We don’t simply talk the talk, we walk the walk. The establishment are used to parties speaking out against the rule of the 1%, but then going along, abiding by their rules and forming some rotten coalition. They know we will not do that, instead we will fight tooth and nail for the 99% - and that scares them,” he said.
He also criticised the “Denis O’Brien media” for “backing up the establishment”.
“This is part of a concerted effort to try to discredit and criminalise the water charges movement, and the AAA in particular, in the eyes of ordinary people,” he said, saying that if similar dawn arrests of protestors took place abroad, editorials would be “decrying it as an attack on democracy”.