United left-wing party to target junior ministers’ seats

A newly formed left-wing merger party is targeting two junior ministers’ seats in a bid to achieve enough positions to have “significantly enhanced” speaking rights in a new Dáil.

Cork City Council member Mick Barry confirmed the grouping has earmarked as winnable either European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy or junior health minister Kathleen Lynch’s Cork North Central seats.

He was speaking at the launch of Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit merger yesterday.

Speaking at the event, which also saw the group confirm it will most likely support Sinn Féin, sitting TDs Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger, and Richard Boyd Barrett said the party will focus on building a platform of opposition to austerity measures inside Leinster House.

The group plans to run 30 candidates in 27 constituencies to increase its Dáil numbers from four to more than seven, the level which ensures daily speaking rights.

Mr Barry claimed national polls show 50% of the public do not want to vote for Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

Asked whose seat he will be targeting in the mainly urban four-seater constituency, Mr Barry said the two seats in danger are Labour and Fine Gael. The sitting TDs are Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien, Kathleen Lynch, and Dara Murphy.

“If we look at the constituency the two people most likely concerned about their seats are the two Government TDs,” he said.

Dublin South West TD Paul Murphy said the new party would support Sinn Féin “if the numbers were there”. He said joining up with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or Labour would be like “the tail wagging the dog”.

He rejected suggestions that the merger will soon split like other attempts to build a left-wing bloc, insisting: “We will not fall apart”.


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