IRSP candidate launch

The IRSP in Derry has launched its first election campaign in the city for more than 30 years.

The party is fielding two candidates in the local government elections, which will be held on May 5.

Martin McMonagle will contest the poll in the Shantallow areas, while Lucy Callaghan will stand in the Northland ward.

The party launched its campaign yesterday morning at its offices in the Lenamore Business Park.

Speaking at the launch, leading IRSP member Martin McMonagle said he believes people are looking for a new voice in local politics.

“Our purpose in standing in these elections is to promote our political viewpoint as a serious and real alternative to what passes for politics in the north of Ireland.

“We believe that for too long the working class have been left behind by the political elite and their hopes and aspirations were ignored in favour of party self interest.

“We in the IRSP are different. We offer a voice to the working class where none presently exists. We offer a fresh new, vibrant and viable political alternative,” he said.

48 year-old Mr McMonagle is one of the most high-profile IRSP members in the country and made the announcement last year that the INLA had decommissioned its weapons.

Mr McMonagle said he believes voters will respond positively to the IRSP’s new direction. “This is part of our transition towards the primacy of politics. The public recognise we are serious about politics and realise that all we are armed with is our policies,” he said.

25 year-old Lucy Callaghan, the party’s candidate, said she intends to give a voice to working class communities. “I work in the community and I know at first hand the issues affecting people because they are also affecting me.

“I’m from the Glen area of the city and live in Ballymagroarty and I’ve been involved with the party for two years. I‘ve always supported the politics of James Connolly and Seamus Costello and I think that, now more than ever, because of the economic situation, that is what is needed.

“There is an appetite for change out there on the doorsteps among people from all areas and classes,” she said.