AAA/PBP says Labour Party is in 'meltdown'

AAA/PBP says Labour Party is in 'meltdown'

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Reporter

Hard left group the Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit has predicted it could have more votes than Labour after Friday's vote due to a "meltdown" in support for the Government party.

Sitting TDs Richard Boyd Barrett, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy made the claim at its end of campaign press conference today, saying it is possible their own group could have seven seats while Labour could fall below five.

Speaking at the Mont Clare Hotel in central Dublin, Dun Laoghaire TD Mr Boyd Barrett said a "seismic shift" is taking place in Irish politics and that Labour is facing "a really severe meltdown".

While declining to say how far the larger rival party could fall, his Dublin West colleague Ms Coppinger said Labour may return less than five seats while AAA/PBP vote gains in Cork North Central [Mick Barry], Limerick city [Cian Prendiville] and parts of Dublin are possible.

Ms Coppinger - who is in a fight for the final seat in her constituency with Labour leader Joan Burton - said she believes the Government party cannot be resuscitated and is facing a "burning anger" from voters similar to what hit Fianna Fáil five years ago.

While insisting it is "nothing personal", she said "there's no doubt a feature of this election is the demise of the Labour party".

Speaking at the same press conference, Dublin South West TD Paul Murphy has suggested Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil should have ran as a single party in this election because they represent "the same fatal policies".

The by-election winner in 2014 said while a coalition involving both parties would not be good in the short-term for the country, it would help the left in the medium-to-long-term as "such a Government could definitely be beaten".

"Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael should be one party, they represent the same fatal policies. They should be standing as Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael like ourselves [Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit].

"Such a Government would be right wing, we don't think it should demoralise our support because such a Government could definitely be beaten," he said.

Meanwhile, the hard left group has joked that the Donald Trump of Irish politics is somewhere between Fine Gael and Renua after claiming it is effectively the Bernie Sanders of General Election 2016.

In a statement at its end-of-campaign press conference, Mr Boyd Barrett said "for the first time as a nation we have a chance to vote for a change, this is a mood that has begun to sweep across Europe and the rest of the world," before referencing left-wing Democrats candidate Bernie Sanders's comparative success in the US.

Asked who the Donald Trump of Irish politics is if his own group is Mr Sanders, the Dun Laoghaire TD replied: "I'd say somewhere between Fine Gael and Renua."

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