Conference: New Political Possibilities in Ireland for all Left-Wing Parties in Partnership with Civil Society


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A Conference entitled ‘New Political Possibilities in Ireland for all Left-Wing Parties in Partnership with Civil Society‘ will be held on Monday January 31st in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin. The conference will give TDs and public representatives from Labour, Sinn Fein and the Left Alliance an opportunity to showcase their economic and social policies in advance of the general election. Arguments will also be presented on the possibilities for a grand coalition of the left as a new potential Irish government.

The conference will also explore how real democracy might be put in to place in Ireland through establishing real networks and working arrangements between civil society and these political parties alongside the trade union sector and progressive academics. This will be augmented by an outline of progressive, fairer and more sustainable economic and social policies by representatives from civil society, unions and leading progressive academics.

Policy issues covered: alternative solutions to the banking crisis; new policies to reduce unemployment; a fairer taxation system; a new budgetary framework; negotiating with the EU and IMF; housing waiting lists and mortgage arrears; social welfare cutbacks; re-vitalising communities; public services; political leadership; More efficient and fairer health and social care policies.

View and print the registration form

The line up is as follows but more may be added later:  

Tommy Broughan TD- The Labour Party

Ciaran Lynch TD- The Labour Party

Michael D. Higgins – The Labour Party

Joe Higgins MEP- Left Alliance

Cllr.Richard Boyd-Barrett-Left Alliance

TDs from Sinn Fein (names to be confirmed)

Michael Taft- Unite and TASC Economists’ Network

Anne Costello- Community Platform

Dr.Mary Murphy- NUI Maynooth, academic, activist and former Policy Officer with Vincent de Paul

Prof. Kathleen Lynch- UCD, academic and activist

Tom O’Connor-Economist CIT

Michael Burke- TASC Economists’ Network and formerly senior international economist with Citibank in London

Awaiting confirmation:

Jack O’Connor, President SIPTU

Other speakers to be confirmed.

The Conference will run from 9am to 6pm. Admission is 10 euros. Booking in advance is essential. Booking info: and

Replace the AT with an @ symbol.

A full conference programme will be published later and sent out to all participants. Further details, discussion and news of new speakers will be posted on the Irishleftreview website.


12 Responses

  1. Des Derwin

    December 23, 2010 12:04 pm

    A big, bold and interesting initiative. Congratulations. Only one quibble: having it on a Monday during the day does not suit working workers, except perhaps professional political and civil society workers.

  2. Tomboktu

    December 23, 2010 12:44 pm

    Interesting planned panel: two each from the three bigger left electoral groups, plus a selection of other sectors.

    I wonder if there will be real dialogue, or if there will talking past each other (or worst, swipes and digs).

  3. sonofstan

    December 23, 2010 4:43 pm

    Really interesting looking, but echo Des’ comment -fine for TDs, who have Monday off and senior academics, who can make their own hours…..but some of us etc.

  4. Beñat

    December 23, 2010 5:08 pm

    Great and much needed initiative. Nevertheless looking at the topics suggested one wonders where is the issue of partition though. There has never been a more pressing time than the times ahead to resolve this issue for once and all. The definitive overcoming of partition should be on the agenda of any credible left and progressive political, social and economic alternative.

  5. Michael Youlton

    December 24, 2010 1:21 pm

    There is another larger and much more threatening elephant that does not appear to have made the room of this very useful and progressive initiative.
    I am referring, of course, to the issue of Irish Foreign policy, particulalrly in relation to the continued use of Shannon, Irish participation in Afghanistan and the various Battlegroups and the new policy document of NATO that assigns , and I quote verbatim, an equal strategic military alliance role to the European Union!
    It is my stance and that of PANA and the IAWM that NATO leads the class war on a global scale….would the organisers consier allowing the elephant in question a peek? A glance? a 10 – minute slot?

  6. roy johnston

    December 29, 2010 11:56 am

    I hope to grt to this; it looks like the makings of an important initiative; when we attempted the ‘left alternative’ initiative in the 70s we failed; the scene was dominated by the Provisional campaign. Now that SF has finally absorbed the importance of the political road, perhaps this time there is more hope. Also there is an emergent neo-Marxist trend decoupled from the disastrous Stalin influence. A key issue could be the need to reform local democracy, with foci at the local community and socio-economic regional levels, leaving the Elizabeth 1 ‘county’ structures aside. Community activist meetings should be in the ‘village hall’ rather then in the pub.

  7. Helena Sheehan

    January 1, 2011 8:17 pm

    As I have written elsewhere, this is an excellent and timely initiative. I see Des’s point about Monday. On the other point about the danger of talking past each other, might you think about structuring it in such a way as to encourage maximum constructive interaction between speakers and between speakers and audience?

  8. Amanda Tattersall

    January 2, 2011 2:23 pm

    An important initiative and good luck from a union official from Australia!

    Might be interesting to discuss the art of coalition building at the conference,both between political parties and between civil society organizations. If there is interest in this, you could review a book on this topic called power in coalition which I published last year with lessons of success (and weakness) from the us, Canada and Australia (see website below These ideas have been helpful in our less volatile but still problematic political environment out here in helping to build new economic and social reforms.

    Good luck with the conference.

  9. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

    January 3, 2011 8:57 pm

    An important and timely initiative. Let’s hope the different parties approach the event constructively and in a spirit of comradeship. The opportunity now exists, probably for the first time in the existence of this state, to create a real ‘left’ alternative to the tweedle dum and tweedle dee right wing policies of FF and FG. Let’s hope the ‘Left’ can grasp it!

  10. Maria Walsh

    January 7, 2011 11:16 am

    I like this idea. I don’t like the monday slot. Sat would be more inclusive. I think Trade Union heads on outrageous salaries have lost credibility. I hope re people talking past each other that there’s a structure that prevents this happening. I’m fed up with the bullying interruptive qualities of some speakers. Equal time to be given to all including responses from the audience. Lastly it would be good to see if the Left can unite beyond splinters, bickering and egos and set an inspiring path for voters.

  11. Jan Leonard

    January 20, 2011 1:19 pm

    Can someone please contact me regarding this meeting on 01 6073900

    Many thanks

    Jan Leonard
    O’Callaghan Hotels