Water charge groups clash over ‘left’ party leadership

A row has broken out between the Right2Water campaign and supporters of the Non Payment Network over who will lead a new ‘left’ political party.

The Non Payment Network announced this week that it will be running candidates in the next election, placing them in direct competition with Right2Water.

The groups are clashing over who will lead a new political movement powered by the mass water charge demonstrations and inspired by the successes of Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece.

Right2Water is backed by five unions including Mandate and Unite. It held a conference earlier this month to initiate a political movement from the water charge protests.

The Anti Austerity Alliance, a member of the Non Payment Network, described the conference as “limited’ and ‘invite only”.

The Non Payment Network, backed by TDs Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy, and Richard Boyd Barrett, is planning to hold a large meeting on June 7, six days before Right2Water holds its policy conference on June 13.

Right2Water has described the Non Payment Network as disappointing and divisive.

Brendan Ogle of Right2Water said: “It is disappointing at a time maximum unity is needed [that] the usual suspects put control and division first. This time it won’t work.”

Mr Murphy said the Non Payment Network is not competing with Right2Water for votes in the election and claimed the events in June are unrelated.

“The Non Payment Network is an attempt to bring together groups who advocate non-payment as a strategy It’s not in competition with Right2Water. The event on June 13 organised by Right2Water is a very different event from ours.

“It’s not about fighting water charges. It’s a Right2Water union’s initiative. it’s a political initiative on building a new left. I’m participating in that debate, but it is not about fighting water charges. Our event is focused on non-payment and fighting the charges.”

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