Independent Media Centre Ireland

Joe Higgins to do Online Live Q&A Session with Voters

category national | elections / politics | feature author Saturday May 23, 2009 15:46author by Joe - Socialist Partyauthor email info at joehiggins dot eu

Joe Higgins is standing for the Dublin Constituency in the Euro Elections to be held on Friday, June 5th

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Joe Higgins: Not just on the streets,
but also on the information superhighway.

This Sunday (24th May), the Socialist Party candidate in the Dublin Euro Election Campaign, Joe Higgins, will be doing a live online video Q&A session, to give people throughout Dublin the chance to directly ask him questions. Starting at 5pm, he will be answering questions as they come in, live on video through his website . To watch the video, or ask a question people simply have to log on at 5pm.

The event, which his campaign believes to be the first of its kind for Ireland, will also reach out to those in the online blogging community, who the campaign are keen to engage with. As well as taking questions from the internet, a number of ‘bloggers’ will also be at the event, taking place in the IFI in Templebar, with plenty of time to interview Joe.

The event aims to engage with the online community, and with the thousands of people who normally don’t get a chance to question or talk to the candidates. Thousands of people throughout the city, particularly those living in apartment blocks, have never gotten the opportunity to engage with the candidates. Whilst candidates regularly answer questions from the media, Joe Higgins wants to engage directly with ordinary, working people throughout Dublin – arguing that they should be the ones to set the agenda of the election, not the media or the establishment parties.

Here is Joe's blurb for the election: "Joe Higgins is standing in the Dublin Constituency for the Socialist Party to give ordinary people all across Dublin the opportunity to strike a blow against the government’s attempt to make us pay for the disastrous crisis caused by the profiteering and greed of speculators and big bankers in the property market and to put forward a socialist alternative to the the chaos of the market and the corruption of crony capitalism and crony establishment politics."

The live video streaming will be done through Joe Higgins’ UStream account and clips from it will be made available afterwards on (his YouTube account. Questions can also be submitted via his Twitter account.

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Comments (32 of 32)

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author by Joe Higgins.eupublication date Sat May 23, 2009 09:59author address author phone

Image to accompany the story


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author by Harvey Duffpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 18:10author address author phone

Its good to see indymedia getting behind Joe in this way . I'm not a member of the Socialist Party myself , and do not live in Dublin Central but will be asking my colleagues who do live in the constituency to vote for him. Joe stood up for the workers while he was in the Dail and in many ways was the only real opposition while he was there . Despite that the voters rejected him last time out at national level which is of course their right in a democracy .
I think that with the current downturn many voters in Dublin West may be now regretting the way they voted because it means that workers now have no voice in the Dail , nobody to stand up to this rotten Fianna Fail/ Green coalition .
We should all get behind Joe now . With conditions in the public sector and workers’ overtime pay being cut across Europe ,and of course at home by this rotten Fianna Fail coalition government , we need real fighters like Joe to stand up to the bosses and to the faceless bureaucrats who run Europe.

author by Darrenpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 18:22author address author phone

This chapter from the book "On The Edge Political Cults Right And Left" on the SP/CWI in Ireland should be read by all:

The author, Dennis Tourish, also debated here on indymedia a few times. Have a look at the archive.

author by Dublinerpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 20:04author address author phone

Why should it be read by all, Darren? Do you mean by the whole of the Dublin electorate, or by the people who read this site? And do you mean that once they have read it, they will conclude that they shouldn't support Joe Higgins? I don't need to read any book by Dennis Tourish - I know members of the Socialist Party, I can hazard a good guess as to what the party is like for a member and I know it's not for me, but I'll be voting for Higgins on June 5th with enthusiasm. Now tell me why I shouldn't?

author by Darrenpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 20:17author address author phone

To keep it short, read what Joan Burton was quoted as saying in an article from Village in 2005:

"Joan Burton is less amenable to Joe Higgins’ persuasion. “I don’t like that whole Militant strain – I think it’s more of a sect than a political party. I find his brand of Trotskyism very unattractive, very sterile and incompatible with a developing society. It’s a very exclusive organisation, a small group rather than a big party – it has tight control exercises, little room for differing opinion.”"

Sect/cult- call them whatever you want. I canvassed for Higgins in 04 and I know that there is something not quite right with the average leader (not including their average youth leader) of the party.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party/ CWIpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 20:40author address author phone

of Darren -

He is a rather confused individual who spend his time either canvassing for Fine Gael or running an anti-SP vendetta on

He claims to have canvassed for the SP in 2004 and seems to think that he was somehow misled by Joe Higgins five years ago. He has been unable to let it go since. He spends his time posting links to Tourish's book and making some very crude remarks about female SP members.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 20:49author address author phone

A couple of quick observations and comments.

Re Harvey's... "Despite that the voters rejected him last time out..." Joe wasn't rejected, his constituancy was gerrymanderly chopped by FF....just like in the North by the Unionists...and it's as much as a crime down here and a show up of capitalism/sectarianism as it was up there.

Don't get behind Joe "because conditions in the public sector and workers’ overtime pay being cut across Europe , and of course at home by this rotten Fianna Fail coalition government ".... Get behind genuine Socialism because Capitalism is a rotting festering plague that needs to be eliminated, once and for all.

I was in the SP for a few years, like many others, and as left parties go, they are the best of an above average bunch.

But as I said, who is or was perfect on the left? Not Marx, not Engels, not Luxembourg, not Lenin, not Connolly, not Larkin, not Trotsky, not Browne, not Guevara, not Higgins, nor Chavez or Morales.

Vote Revolutionary Left on the 5th of June.

author by Darrenpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 20:50author address author phone

"making some very crude remarks about female SP members."

In your imagination. We'll see who'll be smiling on 5th June when FG become the largest party at council level in the country and the SP are left with their 4 or 5 seats... Ádh mór libh... :roll:

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 21:26author address author phone



author by Darrenpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 21:31author address author phone

No need to be overly dramatic Michael. The SP will still only have 4 or 5 councillors on a good day and the SWP would be fortunate to get one.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 21:40author address author phone

Give me one genuine socialist against a barrel full of capitalists any day.

I'm looking forward to the drama of another nail or four in the Fínally Fáils coffin.

author by Harvey Duffpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 11:16author address author phone

I don’t think Michael Gallagher should be introducing that sectarian sort of stuff about Ulster unionism into the debate , and I’m really not sure about how voters would take his illustration of the clenched fist .As somebody who was in the SP Michael should know better . Potential voters who don’t know better could get the wrong impression . “Vote for Joe or you’ll get a punch in the throat” is NOT the sort of message we need to be getting across in this election . The most important thing is to get behind Joe . He’s a clean pair of hands , a good skin and he stands up for the workers , that’s three good enough reasons to vote for him .

author by Joe Higgins.eupublication date Sun May 24, 2009 11:33author email cian at socialistparty dot netauthor address author phone

Thanks to Dubliner, Harvey, Jolly Red Giant and Michael for the support. Hopefully this event can go very well, we just need everyone to spread the word to their friends and family. Joe won't get and RTE 'Party Political Broadcast', so instead of 1 way 'party political broadcast', Joe Higgins has this two way Q&A session, engaging with voters through live video where you can ask him questions. But we need to get as many people watching it as possible.

A point of clarification (before the Indymedia editors go mad), this post being on the front page is not an inidcation of Indy supporting Joe (they don't take any positions in these matters), but that they deemed it the event newsworthy.

Anyway - make sure to log on, watch, and ask questions. Let's strike a real blow against FF etc and for socialist policies.

- Cian P
(Involved in running Joe

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author by Dublinerpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 11:53author address author phone

Hard luck Darren, you haven't convinced me in the least - you just seem like a bit of an odd character, and why would anyone sympathetic to Joe Higgins listen to a Fine Gael partisan anyway? I don't think either Labour or Fine Gael are in any position to accuse other parties of being dominated by a small group of leaders, it's a fair description of themselves. I'm sure Joan Burton is just resentful because Higgins didn't follow her on the way towards the centre. I wouldn't join the SP myself but I know they're not a political cult and I'll certainly be voting for Higgins next month - now chew on that, mate!

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 12:31author address author phone

Harvey, I was just making the point about gerrymandering which kept "fenians" at bay in the north for centuries. Every now and then , Fianna Fail have been playing around with constituencies in the same way, -including the North Inner City- as a way of keeping the socialists at bay. Even the late Tony Gregory had to canvass in parts of Ballyfermot during general elections, and he was based in Dublin Central.

As for the fist, well everyone knows what the clenched fist stands for, resistance, resolve and revolution. It's not a symbol of violence.

Best of luck to Joe and all the genuine socialists in the coming elections.

author by Joe Higgins.eupublication date Sun May 24, 2009 12:44author email info at joehiggins dot euauthor address author phone

All set up for the live Q&A + blog conf. code to embed vid & Q submit on your own site is also available there.

Or watch it over on UStream:

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author by dubsocialistpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 14:46author address author phone

author by Harvey Duffpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 14:58author address author phone

I really don’t think that you should be re-enacting all those bitter , centuries old sectarian battles Michael . Since the Good Friday Agreement (for all its undoubted imperfections ) times have moved on . Workers in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK are faced with similar conditions in terms of cutbacks , job losses etc that workers here are being asked to put up with on a daily basis . All to pay for the crisis of greedy fat cat capitalists - whether they be orange or green .

What we need to focus on in my opinion is Joe’s record as a bold and committed fighter for the rights of workers . There’s a report in the indo today about Irish public sector workers being paid higher wages than their counterparts in Europe for instance that needs to be answered . Let’s concentrate on defending workers against the bosses’ offensive . Let’s say no to pay cuts in the public sector and leave the Battle of the Boyne to the history books .

On the matter of the crudely-drawn clenched fist , Michael , let me state first of all that I fully accept and appreciate the fact that you are not a man of violence yourself . But as in any election campaign the perception of voters must be uppermost in our minds at all times .
Fully agree with your last point , Michael . So , let's go with Joe !

author by Joe Voterpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 18:26author address author phone

"I do not live in Dublin Central but will be asking my colleagues who do live in the constituency to vote for him. "

Joe Higgins is a candidate across all of Dublin as it's the European election. So, you may still have a vote :) In some parts of Dublin there are 3 ballots on the same day, and could cause confusion like this among some voters. As for Darren, I have on very good authority that he didn't do any work for SP election campaign in 2004. He's a very very sexist chauvinistic individual that has lots of chips on his shoulder. Generally a very unstable person. The Sparts even did not want him!

author by pat cpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 18:49author address author phone

I will give Joe a number 1 in the euro elections. A big vote for Joe is important in the fightback against the cutbacks. I have diffeences with the SP but getting Joe elected will put the fear of the proletariat into our rulers.

And it won't lead to a Leninist Dictatorship. But it would make it more difficult for the ICTU burocrats to betray us.

Joe Voter:

I think this must be a different Darrren, I now one who was in both the SP & Sparts and he would not be cheering on FG.

author by Darren Cpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 19:18author address author phone

The person posting above of course isn't myself. I don't consider the SP to be a "cult". I've even clashed with Denis Tourish previously on this question, when he bizarrely tracked down a comment I wrote on the UCDSU newswire a few years ago. He has an unhealthy obession with the CWI and is obviously fond of googling his own name.

The vitriolic abuse directed at me by 'Joe Voter' is really weird. The chip is clearly on his/her shoulder. I was very active in Lisa Maher's election campaign in 2004 and most SP members in Dublin will attest to that. I'll be voting for Joe in the European elections and I wish him and all the other SP candidates the very best of luck.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 22:26author address author phone

...named Darren who posted above is an individual named Darren Prior - he has a blog here If you have a read through it you will see where he gets his ideas from. He posts under the name of 'Darren Mac an Phríora' on He works for Near90 FM in Coolock.

He appears to have a very unhealthy obsession with the SP and is prone to making some seriously nasty comments, particularly about female members of the SP - If you have a read through the Mulhuddart election thread on from page 20 to about 24 you will get a very good idea of how this individual operates.

author by Mike M - SPpublication date Sun May 24, 2009 23:21author address author phone

I have been a member of the SP for about 11 years now, and the suggestion that it is a cult/sect is just absurd. I can tell anyone who is genuinely interested that the party does not meet the criteria outlined in the link provided by the peripatetic Darren.

As to Darren himself, I have come across his views on and . He is one of a (very) few people you find on the net who seem to have some vendetta or other against the SP. I came across a guy some years ago in college who had been a member of the SP for about a week and seemed to feel he was a hardened ex-Trot who had 'seen through' the party and was qualified to speak as an expert on all matter SP-related. Darren is very reminiscent of the guy in question.

I'm not here to have a go at Darren - I'm sure he is genuine and well-meaning in his own way. I would suggest though, Darren, that if you want to criticise the SP stick to our policies and activities - i.e. things you might know something about.

Indeed it would be amusing to have our policies attacked by a member of party that has proposed, over time:
Army-run boot camps for young offenders (
Drunk tanks in A&Es for inebriated patients (
Compensation for people who lost money on Eircom shares (whilst still supporting privatisations - how does that free market thing work exactly?)
Sending the army in to drive the trains during the NBRU strike (mentioned in Dail debate -

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Mon May 25, 2009 11:21author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone 00353 (0)86 4048249

Harvey, you are nit picking now and I'm not going to get into it. You have commented more about the North than I would have ever intended, (are you one of those that likes to hear yourself typing?) but unfortunately what's going on in the North ain't over yet, keep an good eye and ear open lest it creeps up and bites ya. And the fist is a photo.

The broadcast team
The broadcast team




Joe and friends after the broadcast winding down and preparing to banjoe somebody.....
Joe and friends after the broadcast winding down and preparing to banjoe somebody.....

author by Marcaspublication date Mon May 25, 2009 12:00author address author phone

""Joan Burton is less amenable to Joe Higgins’ persuasion. “I don’t like that whole Militant strain – I think it’s more of a sect than a political party. I find his brand of Trotskyism very unattractive, very sterile and incompatible with a developing society. It’s a very exclusive organisation, a small group rather than a big party – it has tight control exercises, little room for differing opinion.”"

Little room for differeing opinion? You mean like the Labour Party who had no room for the opinions of Militant and its supporters?

author by Scepticpublication date Mon May 25, 2009 12:29author address author phone

The analogy with Militant is invalid. Militant was expelled from both the British and Irish Labour parties for entryism not for varying opinions. It’s quite clear to any impartial observer or of the Irish Labour Party that there are diverse opinions within the party.

What Joe Higgins avoids spelling out is who are the rich apart form the obviously wealthy. He condemns large shareholders and praises small ones but this is not meaningful if he won’t put numbers on this. Is someone who owns stock of say a current valuation of €40k rich? Is someone who earns €60k pa in salary rich by his lights or if not what is the threshold? Most would agree that owning a farm of 200 acres of average quality land makes one a prosperous person and owning 20 acres makes one a poor one but at what point does one become wealthy by Joe’s definition? Same for owning a house worth say €200k and no mortgage? It’s easy to shake ones fist on political platforms about the taxing the rich but lets have the specifics. Governance as opposed to vacuous sloganeering is about making specific policies about these matters.

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author by Marcas - SP (Personal Capacity)publication date Mon May 25, 2009 13:46author address author phone

Sceptic, I'm well aware of what Entryism is. To say Militant was kicked out for this is a sham though. It may have been the overt reason but the real reason was that the ideas of Militant had gained a real foothold in Labour. Not only this but there were other tendencies in the Labour Party in Britain. Tribune for example, who were reformist lefts. You also had the group who eventually left to become the SDP who tried to start the Blairite transformation a bit too early. So Militant were got rid of not because of because they were an entryist group, rather that they were becoming a bit too successful for the liking of those who had other ideas about where they wanted the party to go. Under Spring, the same thing was happening here in Ireland and it was for similar reasons Militant was expelled here.

BTW, Burton is wrong about what she says about the SP. There is plenty of room for different opinions. If she means there isn't room for people who favour the market like there is in Labour, then fair enough. I wouldn't want it that way.

author by Harvey Duffpublication date Mon May 25, 2009 15:18author address author phone

Michael G writes:
“Harvey, you are nit picking now and I'm not going to get into it. “ And then he starts getting into it! What’s been “going on” in Northern Ireland has involved much more than creeping up on people and biting them, Michael. In your previous post you had seemed to disavow violence which I acknowledged in my reply to you . I had hoped that you would take the acknowledgement in the spirit of reconciliation intended.

Having said that, thanks for the photos of Joe and the broadcasting team, Michael. It would be good to hear a report back on the live Q&A session. Joe has obviously assembled an energetic, media-savvy and youthful squad around him. If we can get a good turn-out for the left in these elections, perhaps Joe will get another chance at the Dublin West constituency sooner than people think.

Joe voter
I’m living outside of the Dublin area altogether now (although you’d hardly notice it coming in on the motorway).I’d certainly be voting for Joe otherwise.


Sorry if I got you into any hot water with the indymedia editors . The live Q&A session was newsworthy in its own right – the first time that anything like this has been attempted in Ireland as far as I’m aware .For that reason alone the story fully deserved to be featured on the front page .

author by PeterDubpublication date Mon May 25, 2009 17:33author address author phone

Maybe Joe will be more vocal about Irish consumer rights more than other Irish MEPs have been?

Over the next year, there will be wide ranging EU ban on inefficient but useful products in categories as already announced 31st March (washing machines, refrigerators, TV-sets etc, following on from the light bulb ban)
More see:

The bans are done in the name of energy efficiency and emissions:
But of course energy and emissions can be dealt with directly:

Since when do light bulbs give out any gases?

author by Joe Higgins.eupublication date Tue May 26, 2009 09:24author address author phone

The full video of the Q&A is available at:

Clips in better quality will be made available soon on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions, if we didn't get to answer them during the 90minutes, we will try give some reply in the coming days.

author by Harvey Duffpublication date Tue May 26, 2009 18:25author address author phone

I agree with petedub . The Greens' anxiousness to make superficial "gains" for their middle class voters -frequently with no real gains for the environment - can often make things hard for workers who inevitably have to pay higher prices so that green and liberal do-gooders can go to bed at night and sleep with easy consciences . But then again any party that props up a rotten Fianna Fail government can't really have any real concerns for workers .

Petrol allowances for workers engaged in essential services in the public sector is another thing Joe should look into . Dedicated people who don't always have the luxury of sleeping in their beds at night , but have to work unsocial hours and weekends shifts , often having to put up with abuse and even violence while doing their duties , should be treated as special cases and given mileage expenses for traveling to and from their places of work .

author by climate change ?publication date Sun May 31, 2009 00:09author address author phone

To deflect the sun the greens have pushed through a bll to paint all buildings white. Thought climate change was about communication using internet & no need to fly anywhere,. Would this be correct as I just heard this last night on Talk Sport radio ?

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