Result reinforces need for left cooperation

Modest gains for left, but turn to Fine Gael is not alternative

Like all political parties the Workers' Party will be analysing the outcome of last Friday's local, European and by-elections over the coming days and weeks.
For the party there were modest gains, most notably Ted Tynan's win in Cork North East and the retention of Davy Walsh's seat in Waterford North.  There were also a number of other areas where the Workers Party came close to winning additional seats.
The gains for other left parties, groups and individuals and the magnificent showing for Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party in Dublin and his election to the European Parliament are to be welcomed.
However one thing is clear, the major benefactor of the elections was Fine Gael a party which believes in exactly the same policies as the now discredited Fianna Fáil led government.   If anything Fine Gael would introduce even more vicious cuts in welfare and public services while many more jobs would be lost, especially in the public sector.    Neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael offer any policies which will assist working people and their families.  The two major parties clearly stand on the side of big business, the bankers and speculators who sustain those parties financially and otherwise.   Parties that decided to coalesce with Brian Cowen and Enda Kenny's party would do well to ponder on the fate that has befallen the Green Party.
There is a real need to form a coherent left alternative to the two right wing parties and there is a real onus now on the leadership of both the Labour Party as the largest party which claims to be on the left and on the trade union movement to show leadership.    Rather than jockeying with other small parties as which of them can be kingmakers in a new coalition the parties of the left need to work together to construct and alternative to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.   This is not just a matter of political expediency but a critical need at this time when working class people are under attack and need parties and a strong trade union movement on their side.  The ball is now in the court of people like the Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore and they must decide whether to take the lead in building the left alternative or kick it to touch and go for short term but fleeting gains for themselves and their parties.
The Workers Party will give a more detailed analysis of the post election situation when we get an opportunity to look at the figures and other factors affecting the election.  Here is a quick summary of the percentages received by our candidates in the local elections and Dublin Central by-election.
Local Election results for Workers Party candidates:-
Davy Walsh (Waterford North) 12.5% (Elected)
Ted Tynan (Cork North East) 8.9% (Elected)
Joe Tobin (Waterford East) 5.2% (missed seat by 8 votes)
Willie Moore (Waterford South) 9.2% (missed seat by 50 votes)
Mick Crowley (Cork North West) 5.2%
Mick Finnegan (Lucan) 4.6%
Peter Short (Dundalk Town Council) 4.6%
Jackie Connolly (Cork North Central) 4.4% (recount)
Owen Martin & John Dunne (Ballymun-Finglas) 4.1%
Andrew McGuinness (Ballyfermot-Drimnagh) 2.5%
Malachy Steenson (Nth Inner City) 2.4%
Malachy Steenson also contested the Dublin Central by-election receiving 1.8%
Dublin Central By-Election (Malachy Steenson)  1.8%

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics