COULD THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT PARTIES FORM A GOVERNMENT?

LeinsterHouseDublin2010

Labour, Social Democrats, Sinn Fein, AAA-PBP and the Green Party are all seen as progressive left political parties. Instead of these left-wing parties entering a coalition with the bigger right wing parties such as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, could the progressive lefts stand on their own?

There are many similarities between the left-wing parties that would allow them to form a stable coalition.

Repeal the 8th

Labour is the only party that guaranteed a referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment if elected. The Green Party, Social Democrats, Sinn Fein and AAA-PBP also showed support for holding a referendum on the issue.

Minimum wage

All the left-wing parties have called for an increase in the minimum wage. AAA-PBP called for an increase in the minimum wage to a living wage of at least €11.50. Labour, the Green Party and the Social Democrats all included increasing the minimum wage in their manifestos.

Abolition of the USC

The abolition of the USC charge is common across the parties’ manifestos. Sinn Fein called to remove those on the minimum wage from the USC net.

Income tax

Labour called for lower levels of tax for those on low-income salaries but not for those on higher salaries. AAA-PBP stated that they wanted an increase in income tax on people earning over €100,000, raising €922 million. They also want the introduction of a millionaires’ tax which it claims could raise €1 billion.

Childcare

Low-cost affordable childcare was also common across all parties. The Green Party called for more paid parental leave and increase father’s rights in terms of automatic guardianship. The Social Democrats also stated that they will make childcare more affordable by extending paid paternity leave and setting maximum fees for parents for childcare.

Homelessness

Labour sets out in their manifesto their plans to combat homelessness. Sinn Fein stated that one of their main aims is to provide adequate shelter for all in Ireland. The Social Democrats also claim that the will end the housing crisis by establishing new departments and bodies to solely focus on creating sustainable housing.

Irish Language

Labour and Sinn Fein included the promotion of the Irish language in their manifestos.

Water Charges

AAA-PBP and the Social Democrats hope to abolish water charges as they see them as unfair in society.

It’s clear that the main progressive left wing parties have many similarities and that they have the potential to form a stable coalition. While they differ in a few ways such as The Green Party’s strong focus on a fossil fuel-free Ireland and Sinn Fein’s focus on Northern Ireland, they have the bones to form a new coalition that could shake up Irish politics and give it the rejuvenation that it needs.

By Catherine Devine

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