Video: McCann and Harkin election part of resurgence of left-wing politics, Richard Boyd-Barrett tells Dáil

The election of Eamonn McCann and Shaun Harkin for People Before Profit in the local council elections was part of a resurgence in left-wing politics in the North, according to one of the party's most prominent representatives in the South, Dún Laoghaire T.D, Richard Boyd-Barrett.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:54 am
Eamonn McCann.

Deputy Boyd-Barrett, speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, claimed the party's performance in Belfast and Derry showed some voters were moving away from a politics concerned with the constitutional status of the North.

"One of the other features of the recent election that I very much welcome, and which has not been fully trumpeted, is a resurgence in the growth of left-wing politics seeking to offer an alternative to green and orange tribal politics. I am delighted that People Before Profit won three seats in Belfast, going from one to three, and two seats in Derry, where we had none," he said.

"This indicates something else happening in the North, which we should very much welcome. To some extent it is manifest in the growth of other forces that are not associated with the green-orange divide but seek in different ways to offer an alternative to it.

Eamonn McCann.

"It is a reflection of the grassroots movement we saw on issues such as marriage equality, environmental issues and other issues," added Deputy Barrett.

This appraisal echoed People Before Profit Councillor Eamonn McCann's, appraisal of the recent results in the European Parliament election in the North, which returned Martina Anderson of Sinn Féin, Diane Dodds of the DUP and Naomi Long of the Alliance Party to Brussels.

He said: "The result of the European election shows that the Assembly system has had its day and should be ditched. The key to the system, the Petition of Concern (POC), was devised for a system of two solid blocs - one Orange, one Green - holding sway over politics in the North.

"It was intended to prevent Unionists imposing their will on Nationalists or vice versa. 'Others' were regarded as irrelevant and relegated to the margins. This no longer tenable. The Euro vote cannot be fitted neatly into an Orange-Green paradigm.

"In any restored Assembly, 'Others' must have the same rights as Orange and Green representatives to ensure they are not rolled over.

"Analysing voting figures to determine which of the Orange or Green parties is up and which are down no longer tells an adequate story. The real question is whether an Assembly based on Orange-Green rivalry is sustainable into the future."