Boyd Barrett calls for 'grand coalition' of the left as RTÉ debate gets underway

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has called for a "grand coalition" of the left to ensure Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil are not returned to power.

Boyd Barrett calls for 'grand coalition' of the left as RTÉ debate gets underway

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has called for a "grand coalition" of the left to ensure Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil are not returned to power.

Speaking as he entered the NUI Galway campus for the Claire Byrne Live debate on RTÉ, the Dun Laoghaire TD attacked the policies of the two main parties.

His comments came as leaders arrived for the first seven way leaders debate of the election campaign.

He said that people were crippled by housing, childcare costs and high insurance charges.

“People feel the two major political parties that have dominated the state for its entire history have failed them on the basic things of providing affordable housing for people, providing a health system that actually works for ordinary people, a cost of living that is crucifying people in terms of childcare costs, insurance costs, unfair taxes like the USC and property taxes.

“So people - working people - are working hard and want a break, and they're angry at how they haven't got any benefit from the economic so-called recovery and the economic growth in this country.”

He said there had been failures when the two parties joined up with either the Greens or Labour previously in government and that this had left a "bitter taste" in people's mouths”.

He said for real change, there needed to be discussion about a “left government” without either of the two main parties.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who saw her party rise to 19% in a weekend Red C poll, arrived at the debate venue and said she hoped the event would provide “different solutions”.

She also said that voters had told her they wanted “change”.

Social Democrats leader Roisin Shortall told awaiting media before the debate that she and her party were willing to talk to other parties after the general election and that they hoped to improve their Dáil representation to between five and eight seats.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said that he hoped to set out a "real alternative" for voters during the TV clash as people had only so far seen Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in a head-to-head debate last week.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar was targeted by protesters as he arrived at NUI Galway for the debate.

One of the chants lambasted both Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael party and rivals Fianna Fáil over the ongoing housing crisis, while another called: “Leo, Leo, Leo, out, out, out.”

Data courtesy of The Irish Times

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