The death of former Fianna Fáil government finance minister, Brian Lenihan, has resulted in a by-election being called for the Dublin-West seat of the Dáil (the Irish parliament). The Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) has selected Councillor Ruth Coppinger to contest it and will be undertaking a major campaign to win the seat.
For all those disgusted at the abuse of power by bankers, builders and right-wing politicians who have crashed the economy, this by-election is a chance to strike back.
It could be turned into a referendum against the robbery of the Irish public by the bank bailouts and austerity. These policies were started by the former Fianna Fáil government and are now continued by the Labour/Fine Gael coalition government.
The current government is now threatening to downgrade Blanchardstown Hospital, a major hospital in Dublin which serves 100,000 people, by making its ‘Accident and Emergency’ facilities part-time. This is a clear step towards closure.
Electing Ruth Coppinger would be a major boost to the campaign against the new household tax and water charges, which the coalition government wants to introduce. These taxes will reach €1,200 in just a few years, further driving down the living standards of Irish workers’ in an attempt to make workers pay for the gambling debts of the speculators and big banks.
Ruth has been a Socialist Party Councillor for eight years and an excellent campaigner for communities in the north-west of Dublin. She has taken a principled stance against developer-led planning and for community facilities.
Ruth has played a key role in many national and local campaigns, including as Secretary of the Fingal Anti Bin Tax Federation; against the location of mobile phone masts at schools; on housing issues and for the protection of key green belts (areas of a city which have their natural environment left in tact).
Ruth Coppinger will be a workers’ TD (member of Irish parliament) on a workers’ wage, like Socialist Party TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly.