Statement On Dublin City Council “Progressive Alliance”

People Before Profit Councillors on Dublin City Council, Conor Reddy and Hazel De Nortúin, have criticised the Labour Party today for walking away from a fledgling “progressive alliance” on the Council and have called on parties of the left to come together around common principles and in opposition to the Government parties.

Group Leader De Nortúin and newly elected Councillor Reddy were not part of initial discussions that were taking place between the Social Democrats, Sinn Féin, Labour and the Green Party but had been speaking informally to other councillors on the left about what a Left alliance could deliver. Before the Local Elections People Before Profit framed their approach to the Council as an opportunity to challenge Central government and the establishment parties, tying this to their argument for a Left Government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael after the next General Election.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Cllr Reddy said: “Councils in Ireland have been divested of most of their powers and have had funding from central government cut dramatically over the last decade. This new Council, elected months out from a General Election, should push to change the game entirely. With a working majority between the parties of the broad left, it could challenge government by presenting an ambitious programme for Dublin City, a statement of intent, while demonstrating in principle, how the left could work together to deliver real change. By walking away from discussions on a left alliance, Labour have shown that they have no interest in being part of an alternative to Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, this should be remembered when a General Election comes.”

De Nortúin, who has served on Dublin City Council since 2016 added: “Now that Labour have excluded themselves from the possibility of a left alliance on the council, it is on other parties of the left to rule out agreements with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and to pursue other paths to a “progressive council”. People Before Profit have spelled out what we would like to see in a left-led council, and we are open to discussing these possibilities with some of those involved in the original discussions. What we want to be very clear on, however, is that we do not want to horse-trade or barter, we want to have a principled discussion on the future of our City and the measures we can take to improve it for everyone – on housing, transport, the environment, arts, sport, culture and the whole host of services provided by DCC”

Deputy Bríd Smith said “It is clear that Labour are once again planning to work with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. People Before Profit are willing to work with others on progressive principles and proposals such as bringing waste services back into Council control and direct Council labour building of public housing on public land. We cannot however agree to Council budgets for 5 years that we haven’t even seen. We hope that others will share our views and principles and we can work together to improve the services for the people of Dublin”.

The People Before Profit local election manifesto sets out a number of key priorities that De Nortúin and Reddy will bring to other Councillors on the left, including:

  • Agreement to oppose the sale of public land to private developers in all circumstances.
  • Remunicipalisation of waste collection – no bin charges; Council to launch major campaign to get government to change the law.
  • Introduce a tourist tax and increase rates on big business through a rate and rebate scheme.
  • Increase directly employed council staff and bring agency staff in house. Introduce DCC apprenticeships for maintenance workers.
  • No tenders to companies that refuse to recognise trade unions.
  • Reduce Property Tax on Primary Residences by maximum allowed (15% per year)
  • Lobby and campaign for Free Public Transport in the Dublin City area.
  • Clear vacant property register by Compulsory Purchase Order. Introduce a target to bring council-owned “voids” back into use within 3 months. Increase levies on vacant sites and buildings.
  • Introduce an independent appeals board for council tenants to take complaints to.
  • Implement Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – no contracts with companies complicit in Israeli Apartheid.
  • Agreement to move vote of no confidence in any CEO who refuses to implement democratic decisions.
  • Zero tolerance for racism – no cooperation with the far-right. Fund anti-racist and integration initiatives to tackle racism at community level.