Labour calls for economic forum of the left

Ivana Bacik TD
14 May 2023
  • Bacik calls on leaders and finance spokespersons from parties of the left and the environmental movement to engage in a new forum

Speaking at the annual James Connolly commemoration today (Sunday, May 14th), Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called on all parties of the left and environmental movement to join in a forum to debate the future of Ireland’s economic and growth policy.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Today, I am calling on all parties of the left and in the environmental movement to join with the Labour Party in an economic forum, where we can debate our shared vision for a better, fairer society in a constructive and collaborative way, along with trade unions and members of civil society.

“President Higgins was correct in his recent assessment of our obsession with economic growth – if we are to face up to the many challenges facing our country, we must see a fundamental shift in how we organise our economy and our society.

“We should be under no illusion – this will not be an easy task. We all saw the institutional reaction to the President’s speech.

“The reality is that the two Civil War parties have been content to embrace our current model uncritically, without regard for its effect on those with the least. The State now plays second fiddle to the market, because these parties have made it so. But it has become increasingly apparent that this economic model is failing. Ireland is a rich country, but that prosperity is not reflected in working people’s standard of living.

“Our GDP figures and Budget surpluses are astonishing, yet gaining access to basic essentials has never been more difficult for so many. It is ideology – the political choices of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – that is holding back real prosperity for so many communities and working people.

“The fact remains that we live on a planet of finite resources. We cannot solve the great problems of our time – like inequality, the housing disaster, or the climate crisis – by steadfastly adhering to the system which brought them about in the first place. We require a system which places the needs of working people and the living environment at its core.

“I am contacting all leaders and finance spokespersons from parties on the left and the environmental movement, calling on them to engage in a dialogue about the future of the economy. People are increasingly coming to realise that the potential for real fairness and real prosperity is found in the views and vision of those on the left politically. It is therefore incumbent on those of us who are on the left to come together to set out our vision for the future of our economy and our society, and to push for real and radical change, inspired by the ideals of James Connolly.”

Labour Trade Unionists Chair, Paddy Cole, said:

“The reality in Ireland is we measure everything except what makes life really worthwhile. We are one of wealthiest countries in world, yet too many of our own people feel impoverished – not just economically, but spiritually and culturally. That must change.”

“The party’s call today for a Left Economic Forum is one that should be embraced by all who reject the politics of division and who seriously believe in building an egalitarian society based on the enduring principles of social solidarity and the common good.

“Yes, a rainy day fund may be of use, but the best investment for our future is funding the education, health and wellbeing of our young people – this will protect all our futures.”

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