Senator Marie Sherlock introduces Labour Party Leader Ivana Bacik to Conference
Failte mór o chroí go comdháil Pairtí an Lucht Oibre.
It is a great honour to address you this evening
While Dublin is now very much my home, I must tell you that as a proud Corkonian, I’m really thrilled that we are having our conference here in Cork, for the first time in many years.
And I am particularly honoured to be here to introduce our Party Leader Ivana Bacik.
For me personally, there have been so many women in our party that have been such an inspiration. My teenage hero Kathleen Lynch.
Our party leader Ivana Bacik.
But the Labour woman who had the most direct impact on my life; was the late great Niamh Breathnach
Because her changes, meant that, kids like me, from a working class household could follow the dream, go to university.
We are privileged to have fantastic councillors, areas reps, activists on the ground, working day in, day out.
Each of them has a vision for their community, for our country that marks out this party at its very best.
It is a vision we now see sadly lacking in Government, North and South.
And despite the wealth in this Republic, despite our public finances recording surpluses of €5bn last year- enough to build 15,000 homes
It feels like it is backwards we are going, not forwards.
Our country is a paradox of plenty.
Hospital waiting lists that are longer now than when this country was nearly bankrupt 10 years ago
Areas like where I am in, in Dublin’s north inner city where one in four children cannot access a free pre school place
And think about the disadvantage those children are at, when going into primary school.
And that’s all before we talk about housing.
The lifting of the eviction ban is simply indefensible.
People have no where to go.
It is a social scandal. But what’s worse- it is no accident.
We’ve had 8 years where the profits and interests of the few have been prioritised over people living ordinary lives, on ordinary incomes.
A Government that was more than happy to pay private landlords, but it was near impossible to get them to pay to build social homes.
Zero income tax on investment trusts.
So small builders never stood a chance
And the consequences for my generation and younger generations have been devastating.
This is the cruel price for an absence of a vision for this country.
So it has never been more important
That we loudly and clearly demonstrate our party’s vision – not just for housing;
But for care, for climate, for work.
Ar cúram, aeráid, tithíocht agus obar, tá Pairtí an Lucht oibre ag iarragh Éire do chách a chruthú.
For the past three years, I have been proud to be our Party’s spokesperson on worker’s rights;
Campaigning for paid sick leave, miscarriage leave, protections for platform workers to stamp out bogus self employment, an ban on unpaid internships
A right to flexible work; so that every worker, but particularly lone parents and those with a disability can go out and make a decent living for themselves and their families.
And next week, we’ll be publishing legislation so that apprentices are fairly paid.
Today the forces of big business and deep pockets have never been more powerful.
The best response – our only response – is to be better organised- united we bargain, divided we beg.
People need an active, fighting Labour Party in their corner
We bring a vision to Irish politics;
That no other party can match.
And our leader Ivana Bacik is leading us in setting out that vision.
Comrades, friends, I am proud to call Ivana Bacik a friend and our leader.
For more than 30 years, she has been a force to be reckoned with in Irish politics;
A powerful campaigner, an unparalleled legislator, and a fierce advocate for the causes and values that define our movement.
Throughout her political life, Ivana has championed the causes of workers, of women, the disadvantaged and the powerless.
She has fought for justice and equality,
Never backing down, never giving up;
The Ivana I know, is best defined by her empathy and by her compassion.
And she burns with determination to make ours a fairer country
She has a vision for an Ireland that is inclusive, that is tolerant and one that could truly work for all.
So Conference stand with me tonight in welcoming our party Leader;