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Youth enthusiasm for election like Repeal Movement, says People Before Profit

The party is urging Sinn Fein to rule out propping up either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail.

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From left, Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith, Paul Murphy and Gino Kenny of Solidarity-People Before Profit (Brian Lawless/PA)

From left, Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith, Paul Murphy and Gino Kenny of Solidarity-People Before Profit (Brian Lawless/PA)

From left, Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith, Paul Murphy and Gino Kenny of Solidarity-People Before Profit (Brian Lawless/PA)

Solidarity-People Before Profit has compared the 2020 General Election to the marriage equality and eighth amendment referendums.

Left parties have surged in the February election, greater than all years previously and smaller parties are hoping to be the king-makers come Monday morning, as both traditional major parties are highly unlikely to have the numbers to form a majority government.

“There is a political earthquake under way with an absolutely enormous tide demanding an end to 100 years of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and the possibility for the first time for a left government, so we’re appealing for a huge turnout in this election,” Richard Boyd Barrett said on Thursday.

“This is the political equivalent of the repeal and marriage equality movement.”

Solidarity-People Before Profit, which hopes to keep all its five seats and is polling around 4-5%, says it is confident that the excitement of the younger voters will propel the left, and keep Fianna Fail and Fine Gael out.

The party has also urged major left-leaning contender Sinn Fein to rule out propping up either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail, which the party has yet to do.

The party believes a left-coalition in government could mark an historic shift in Irish politics.

“I think the parties of the left, whether it’s Sinn Fein, the Greens or the Social Democrats should have the same ambition and aspiration that is clearly being displayed by the people on the doorsteps and in the polls, they want a break from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, they believe a left government is possible so the rest of the left parties should grasp that with both hands, instead of keeping the option of going into government with the parties of the past,” Mr Boyd Barrett said.

“Those who are expressing absolute fury at Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for failure to deliver on housing and health, and tackling the climate crisis, should come out and make their voice heard and sweep away the two party state.

“We’re appealing to parties of the left to have the same courage to break the cycle of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael rule and stay left, not to squander this historic opportunity.

“The mistakes of the Green Party and Labour Party of the past should not be repeated again.

“Stay left and don’t betray the hopes for change once again by propping up Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.”

People Before Profit’s Brid Smith, a prominent Repeal the Eighth campaigner, says the message on the doorsteps is that young people are hungry for change.

Vicar Street hotel protest
People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, left, compared the General Election to the Repeal the Eighth movement (Niall Carson/ PA Wire)

“The young people are the determining factor, yet again, in this historic election, it’s like the Repeal moment only it’s more exciting in a way, everywhere you go people are talking politics and young people are so engaged,” she said.

“People aren’t saying; ‘What are you going to do for me?’, it’s about the big picture, and that really matters to young people, and they do want to see a fundamental shift in Irish politics and it’s extraordinary to hear how much support there is for the left and the left really needs to be proud and hold that moment as very important and make the most of it, and stick to a position that won’t see Fianna Fail or Fine Gael returned to power.”

PA