Jack O’Connor selected as Labour candidate for Wicklow

04 April 2018

Speaking after he was selected as the Labour Party Candidate to contest the next General Election in Wicklow, at a Selection Convention in the Glenview Hotel this evening Trade Unionist Jack O Connor described the traditional Labour values of equality and economic Justice as key to a better, fairer future in a new republic as we approach the centenary of the foundation of the state.

Speaking at tonight’s selection convention, Mr O’Connor said:

“Investment in high quality public services and the provision of decent secure long term jobs are the key to a better, fairer future . Instead of returning to the cynical practice of buying peoples votes with their own money, we should be deploying the revenues of the most rapidly growing economy in Europe towards housing our people and rebuilding our public health, education and childcare services as well as restoring pension provision to our senior citizens and abolishing lower entry rates in the public service. 

“We cannot afford to be putting hundreds of millions away in a so called “Rainy Day” fund either, when its bucketing down on our public housing, healthcare, education and childcare services.

“Parallel with this we must prioritise decent secure long term jobs instead of the growing phenomenon of insecure precarious work, by increasing public investment in scientific research, supporting new companies subject to a quality employment standard, focussing on continuous re-skilling of our workforce for the age of digitalisation and legislating for the right to representation at work for all who wish to avail of it.

“The economic recovery, which is due to the sacrifices the people have made, affords us the unique opportunity to make dramatic progress, without increasing taxation, while simultaneously meeting our commitments under the Paris accords on climate change.

“People did not endure the misery of austerity to return to the old paradigm of private affluence for the few and public squalor for the many. The current policy is designed to keep a lid on problems rather than to address them. We have to recognise the elephant in the room. We cannot meet the needs of our people with one of the lowest levels of public investment in Europe. In these circumstances tax cutting amounts to nothing more than cynical electoral con – artistry, because in the absence of decent public services they ultimately cost people more.

“The housing waiting list increased by a shocking 39% here last year as against 9% nationally and 32% in Dublin. Meanwhile there is no plan for major development of the strategically important ports of Rosslare, Arklow or Wicklow even in the light of the imminence of Brexit.

“Whilst emphasising respect for those who differ, he called for a Yes vote in the Referendum on the 8th Amendment:

“It is not about imposing our view on others. It is about accommodating the diversity of views on this extremely complex and sensitive issue. We opposed its insertion in the Constitution in the first place and for a long time we were the only significant political party to commit to its removal in our manifesto. We did so in the teeth of opprobrium from the outset and we did not wait for our thinking to evolve so that it conveniently coincided with the shift in public opinion.”

He concluded:

“While the Labour Party made mistakes in the last Government, we ensured that we regained our economic sovereignty and set in train a dramatic economic recovery, while preserving the core infrastructure of our social welfare system, avoiding a sell off of state assets and preserving as well as enhancing our employment protection legislation. As a result there is a unique opportunity for the People of Ireland to break with the failed policies of the past and forge a better, fairer future in a New Republic based on the core values of Equality and Economic Justice for all, as we approach the advent of the second century since independence. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.”

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