People Before Profit Outline How Mayor Can Let Limerick Set A New Bar For Pay, Conditions And Public Services

Limerick needs a Mayor who will stand up for working people “not a corporate politician on a bloated salary” according to former socialist Mayor of Limerick, Joe Harrington.

He was speaking at the launch of Ruairí Fahy’s Mayoral Manifesto which sets out his vision for “making Limerick a great place to live and work”. Also at the launch was People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy, who spoke of how Limerick had “led the way in fighting water charges and austerity and with an activist Mayor it can lead the way again in fighting for workers to get their fair share of the wealth they create”.

The launch took place at the Workers’ Memorial, with the Cleeves factory, birthplace of the Limerick General Strike of 1919, in the background. Mr. Fahy said he wanted to “rekindle Limerick’s fighting spirit, and make Limerick Ireland’s first living-wage county.”

“Poverty and inequality is on the rise as families struggle to handle rising rents, energy prices and food costs. Parents are cutting back on what they eat to make sure their children are fed and others are embarrassed that they can’t afford to bring their children out to the cinema or even for a treat as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

“To tackle this Limerick should become a living wage city—starting with the council. Council contracts should require companies to pay at least a living wage. Unionised companies and cooperatives should be given a preference for these contracts to improve the conditions for workers.”

“This should be part of a process of returning service delivery into the hands of an expanded council staff. The total number of people employed by the council hasn’t kept up with the population which has led to poorer, inconsistent  and more expensive service delivery. We need service delivery to be focused on people’s needs, not the ability for a middleman to squeeze out a profit.”

Mr. Fahy has also pledged not to take the full Mayoral salary of €152,000, but instead to only take the median-wage for workers in Limerick. “We need a Mayor who is on the side of working people, and is fighting to improve the lot of all workers, not one who wants to line their own pockets”.

Housing top of the agenda

The manifesto outlines 5 major points that Ruairí Fahy would use the new Mayor position to tackle, “Get Back Building Public Housing”, “Take Back Control of Refuse and other local services”, “Organise for Action on Healthcare”, “A Limerick for workers” and “Free Public Transport”.

Noting how housing is now almost a universal issue in Limerick Mr. Fahy proposed that “we should make Limerick the home of Ireland’s first trial of universal public housing. At the moment the different schemes lock out workers working full time. They are unable to access to council because they are over the income limits and don’t qualify for cost-rental because they’re below the income limits, leaving them no option but to pay the rip-off rents and house prices this government has created. Instead, Limerick should become the pilot for universal public housing, where everyone can get an affordable home with rents linked to income.

“We have seen this model in other countries and regions across the world serve as a real solution, where councils build, own and maintain housing for people on all incomes, not just those who are struggling the most. Instead our government is spending billions renting out houses when they could be building up a stock of public housing that would provide an affordable, secure home to families for generations.

“Limerick Council owns enough land to build thousands of new homes, and I would fight to ensure we build 100% public housing on public lands. This is the only way we can bring an end to the housing crisis and stop leaving people in private, HAP or RAS accommodation with a threat of eviction hanging over their heads if a landlord ever chooses to sell up.”

A socialist vision for Limerick

The People Before Profit manifesto sets out policies in a wide number of other areas too, which the campaign say they will be highlighting over the course of the campaign. In particular Mr. Fahy is the first of the Mayoral candidates to pledge to campaign for re-opening 24 hour A&E services at St. John’s, Ennis and Nenagh, and he says he will be unveiling more about this campaign in the coming days.

He also calls for Limerick to become a pilot for free public transport to help address traffic chaos, pointing to success of such a policy elsewhere. “The government commissioned a report saying it would only get 1% of people to ditch the cat but when a socialist mayor implemented it in Montpellier the number of people using their buses and trams tripled and 10% of people getting rid of their car altogether.”

Paul Murphy TD said the PBP Manifesto outlines a “bold vision for how an activist Mayor with transformative ecosocialist policies can really improve the quality of life for workers in Limerick. A strong vote for Ruairí in this election will send a message to all the parties and the incoming councillors that working people are fed up of the corporate spin, and want real action on housing, on healthcare and on quality of life”.


You can download our manifesto for the Limerick Mayoral Election here.