Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: For Labour’s Future

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
21 February 2020

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin places workplace rights at heart of ‘bold policy agenda’

Aodhán Ó Ríordán today (Friday) said his leadership of the Labour Party would place workers’ rights at the centre of a bold policy agenda, which would include establishing a legal right to be represented by a trade union.

Launching his campaign for the Labour leadership in the community hall in Dublin’s Sheriff Street, the TD for Dublin Bay North pledged to rebuild his party on the basis of traditional Labour values. But he said there was a need to focus on what Labour can deliver in the future, and to return to being the campaigning heart of Irish politics.

“We’ve had many setbacks in our long history, which have often led to calls to go ‘back to basics’. But, while we’re proud of our roots, we cannot afford to look backwards. We have to grow and develop if we’re to win back trust and confidence and be relevant into the future.”

He said his leadership would deliver:

  • A bold policy agenda, including an end to failed market-driven polices for health, housing and childcare, and a series of ‘people’s budgets’ that go beyond economic performance to deliver sustainable economic equality
  • A campaigning party that would listen and campaign with communities in towns, villages, and workplaces across Ireland, and
  • A fit-for-purpose party organisation with the highest possible standards of professionalism, effectiveness, and accountability.

Speaking to a large crowd of supporters of all ages and backgrounds, Deputy Ó Ríordán said:

“Since long before it was fashionable or electorally appealing, the Labour Party has been a brave, consistent and pioneering champion of economic justice, workers’ and citizens’ rights, equality, decent public services, and social reform – often in the face of dogged opposition from parties that now borrow the language of ‘change’ as a flag of convenience.

“Labour has always been Ireland’s party of progressive change: Winning the arguments; building the alliances with civil society and across social and political divides; and – hardest of all – getting change implemented through determination and courage.

“That message didn’t cut through in the 2020 election. As leader, I will draw on our values, our record and our vision for the future to empower party activists as we rebuild Labour’s reputation for progressive change – and our standing in communities – from the bottom-up.

“As part of that progressive economic change, as Labour leader I will legislate to enshrine in law the right for all workers to be represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining. If this is deemed unconstitutional, either by the Attorney General or the Supreme Court, we will build a movement in support of a referendum to give people the right to be represented by a trade union. This will demand hard work and courage, just like when we achieved marriage equality and repealed the eighth amendment. Labour will lead the argument with our colleagues in the trade union movement, and we will win.

“People in Ireland are hurting because, no matter how hard they work, they can’t give their children the start they want to. The younger generation travels further to work longer hours in insecure jobs, and they feel trapped in expensive rented accommodation. Our older generation is living and working longer, with ever fewer able to save enough for a decent retirement.

“Labour was the first party of progressive change and Labour remains the authentic party of progressive change. I believe that, together, we can – we will – rebuild and reinvigorate our beloved party and win back the trust and support of our people. That’s the first step to building the society and economy we all want – one that’s stronger, fairer, greener and far more inclusive.”

The launch took place in the St Laurence O’Toole recreation centre in Dublin’s Sheriff Street where Aodhán began his political career when he was Principal of the nearby Laurence O’Toole Girls’ National School. He used to coach football to children in the recreation centre.

ENDS

Further information: Bernard Harbor – 087-230-1262

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