Cllr Cian Prendiville with Dail deputies Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry
THE country's newest party Solidarity launched its presence in Limerick with a pledge by Councillor Cian Prendiville to aim for Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan’s Dail seat.
Members of the public and local activists gathered at the Pery Hotel to herald the birth of Solidarity, which is the new name for the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
Ruth Coppinger, one of Solidarity’s sitting TDs said the new name sums up what its membership stands for.
She said: “Solidarity I think sums up in one word exactly what is needed to link all our struggles together and bring about the type of change we have all gathered in this room tonight for. What we need is to link together the struggles of different workers, of young people, of women and of all oppressed people. Solidarity between them in a fight for a better world, to challenge a system which is grossly unjust and grossly unfair.”
The Dublin TD pointed out that at last year’s general election, the majority of people voted for parties opposed to water charges, which were recently repealed substantially.
“What we have to celebrate is they have been forced back. It must have been absolutely sickening to the likes of [Leo] Varadkar and [Simon] Coveney to actually say they will refund people’s money. It must be the first campaign I was involved in that people could gain €100 from,” she said.
Other speakers at Thursday night’s launch of the new party included Donnah Vuma from Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre, the new president of LIT’s student union Philip Desmond, and Dr Angus Mitchell, of Limerick Against Pollution, a group set up to campaign against Irish Cement’s plans for Mungret.
Although he said the group is non-political, he praised Cllr Prendiville for increasing awareness of opposition to the firm’s plans.
“Capitalism is in crisis, neo-liberalism is in crisis and democracy and democratic process in crisis. The three together means the way in which power is functioning is at a more secretive level. Unless we are prepared to make a stand, we will all be condemned for our failure to stand up and state the corruption in that relationship between political and corporate power,” Dr Mitchell said.
Solidarity has two local elected members – Cllrs Prendiville and Paul Keller.