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No Left Alliance on Sligo Borough Council as Lab opt for FG & FF

category sligo | politics / elections | opinion/analysis author Monday June 15, 2009 19:52author by Ray Report this post to the editors

Labour Councillor Jim Mc Garry has been elected as Mayor of Sligo at the Council AGM this afternoon. The voting alliance between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour which elected Cllr Mc Garry was harsly criticised at this afternoon’s meeting of Sligo Borough Council. After all the speculation, there will be no left-wing alliance on the Council, despite the fact that seven of the 12 councillors elected onto the new council are from left-wing parties.

The Labour, FF and FG pact defeated the only other candidate Sinn Fein’s Chris Mc Manus by eight votes to four, while Fianna Fail Councillor Jude Devins was elected as Deputy Mayor defeating Independent Socialist Councillor Declan Bree by eight votes to four also.

With seven Left leaning councillors elected --three Sinn Fein, three Labour and one Independent Socialist --the genesis of an historic alliance was on the cards last week. Sinn Fein's Cllr. Sean MacManus said "It is a unique situation that Left thinking parties now have an opportunity to control the council, and it would make sense to work together to push forward an agenda representative of the wishes of working-class people who make up the bulk of our support".

Cllr. Bree, who was in the strong position of knowing that none of the possible alliances could reach the crucial seven votes without his involvement, favoured the Left wing option. In making contact with Sinn Fein and Labour late last week, he pointed out that it was now possible for the Left thinking parties to form what he called a Civic Charter, an imaginative plan of action for the running of the local authority over the new term.

Speaking to the Sligo Champion Newspaper last week Cllr. Bree said: “There is now a challenge and indeed an opportunity for those of us on Sligo Borough Council who claim to represent the socialist and social democratic traditions. If we can work together in a spirit of trust and co-operation I believe that we can take decisive action in improving the quality of life and the quality of local democracy in Sligo. “For decades the Borough Council has been controlled by parties of the right. Now that the tide has changed in Sligo I believe that we have an obligation to the electorate to ensure that the new Council will take imaginative action to plan and manage local services and to put local people at the heart of local democracy. “I would hope that those of us on the left could agree a plan of action and a Civic Charter that can be endorsed by the people of this community. I certainly will be contacting the whips of each party on the matter and hopefully agreement can be reached before Monday’s first meeting of the new Council.”

Although Labour's Cllr. Veronica Cawley acknowledging that a Left alliance would be an historic breakthrough for Sligo, it is now clear that the oppertunity has been lost on Sligo Borough Council for a progressive pact of the left for the first time.

Related Link: http://oceanfm.ie/news/2009/06/15/cllr-mc-garry-elected-as-new-mayor-of-sligo/
author by Sligo manpublication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 01:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The usual left wing bull-poop, too many egos and not enough space. its a real shame it didn't come to fruition but when your dealing with local politicians around our area your dealing with semi-illiterate clowns. I personally wouldn't leave them in charge of minding my bicycle, never mind the town, but what can i do, i'm only a voter!!?

author by labwatcherpublication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A tripartite agreement between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour saw Labour’s Jim McGarry elected mayor of Sligo, defeating Sinn Féin’s Chris McManus by a margin of eight votes to four.
There had been speculation that a left-wing alliance would emerge on Sligo Borough Council in the wake of an election which saw Fianna Fáil lose two seats while Labour and Sinn Féin won three seats each while Independent socialist Declan Bree topped the poll in his ward.


Ya it’s disappointing that the Labour Party went with FF & FG considering it was the first occasion in the corporation’s history that the left had a majority.

It doesn’t make sense as the left option has less councilors and would have meant more positions on offer for Labour. Just shows you what kind of organization the Labour Party is, and Gilmore on about the end of Civil War politics!

author by Mike Novackpublication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suspect that this is more the result of general "factionalism" among the various components of the the "left" than the fault of any one component party.

Would perhaps make more sense to investigate WHY all the left parties were unable to reach a compromise, what were the sticking points. Unless left politics in Ireland is very different from elsewhere, likely the various left factions are treating each other as enemies rather than potential allies. Saying it's the other guy's fault (he's unable to agree with MY position, which is of course the correct one, and the one which should be the basis of our compromise coaltion) is the problem.

author by Maths Masterypublication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It looks like the Labour Party are deliberatly opting for pacts with FG and even FF. Labour are a few steps behind the mood of the voters on this one. Many voters voted Labour to keep FF and indeed FG out. Yet, Labour get into the Councils and vote for FFers and FGers to chair important committees and hold influential positions on the local authorities.

It exposes that the Labour Party are no longer a left wing party. Declan Bree should be aware of this by now to be honest. Afterall between 1992-97 when he was a TD he was a part of the right-ward shift that saw him vote for Albert Reynolds and John Bruton as Taoiseach, not to mention passports for sale and tax amnesties. Anyway, it seems that Declan has moved to the left and ha been a harsh critic of Labour's further right-ward drift.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 18:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sadly Labour seems to be intent on aligning itself not just with FG but also with FF. I got the following message from Paddy Healy:

Labour, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have concluded a pact to exclude the workers and Unemployed Action Committee led by former Deputy Seamus Healy from the Mayoralty of Clonmel. Cllr Healy polled 3 quotas and WUAG won 5 ofthe 12 seats on the Corporation polling 43% of the vote.

The mainstream parties are demanding that the Mayor pledge in advance not to oppose Estimates(Annual Budget) no matter what its contents (eg re-imposition of domestic rates, new local charges, junket fund for
councillors etc)

Cllr. Séamus Healy has called for a silent vigil outside the Town Hall on
Monday evening next at 5:30 p.m. to coincide with the election of the Mayor
of Clonmel and to express opposition to the exclusion of 43% of the people of Clonmel from the Mayoralty.

The wishes of the people of Clonmel, expressed through the democratic
process, must be respected and any attempt to exclude the five Workers &
Unemployed Action Group Councillors, representing 43% of the people, is an insult to that process and to the people of Clonmel.

The outcome of the elections would entitle the W.U.A.G. to two terms of the
Mayoralty for Cllr. Billy Shoer and Cllr. Séamus Healy. Any attempt to dictate the policies of the Workers & Unemployed Action Group is totally unacceptable, disingenuous and indeed dishonest. In the history of the Mayoralty, no preconditions have been imposed on any
nominee for Mayor.

Cllr. Billy Shoer has been elected to Clonmel Borough Council on three
separate occasions since 1999 and has been nominated for Mayor on five
occasions and excluded unacceptably each time.

It should be noted that three members of the Workers & Unemployed Action Group have served as Mayor of Clonmel. All three, Cllr. Séamus Healy (1994/1995), Cllr. Brian O'Donnell (2000/2001) and Cllr. Phil Prendergast (2003/2004) were elected unanimously without preconditions and distinguished themselves and the town during their terms of office.

And so it came to pass: Fine Gael councillor Denis Dunne was elected Mayor of Clonmel Borough Council.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Take another look at what "Disappointed" said.

Take another look at "Sadly Labour seems to be intent on aligning itself not just with FG but also with FF" but this time asking WHY? Not "why is Labour being so perverse" but in terms of "why was the coalition deal offered by the other left parties (to induce Labour to join with them) so much worse than the deal labour could get from FF and FG".

Please, this is not intended as an apology for Labour, just an attempt to put the blame where it rerally lies, the hopeless factionalism among the left. Instead of blaming Labour for "why aren't we of the left all united" try asking why the left opposition is split into a zillion factions each fighting each other instead of the real "enemy". Labour didn't join the left coalition because there isn't a left coalition and haven't a clue how to create one.

author by Sligo Leftiepublication date Thu Jun 18, 2009 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All due respect to Mike and his 'analysis' from wherever he is situated. Anyone here in Sligo can tell you that Labour refused to align themselves with the other four left councillors was because they were looking to do a parallel deal with Fine Gael on the County Council as well. One certain Labour councillor is jockeying to be Chair of the County Council to give them broader appeal come the General Election whenever that is.

So it has nothing to do with 'factionalism', differences over ideology or any other high brow concepts. Labour simply wanted a piece of the pie on both Councils. Now what that says about the Sligo labour party is a totally different question......

author by Marcas - SP (Personal Capacity)publication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Left wingers with any illusions in Labour are just setting themselves up for dissapointment. Labour have long since moved to the right, its time to let them get at it and take every opportunity to expose them for what they are. Illusions in Labour will only delay the building of a genuine left.

author by mickpublication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 18:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This was in todays sligo champion, interesting to note that Cllr. Bree foolishly rejected a deal with Lab & FG, which probably would have made him Mayor of the town on Monday, but in 2004 as a Labour Cllr. he did a deal with FF, dosn't make sense?

'LEFT OUT. That was the dramatic conclusion on Monday to one of the most unpredictable Mayoral elections for several years as the Labour Party councillors rejected an historic opportunity to form an alliance of Left wing parties, opting instead to team up with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in a controversial pact which will control the new Borough Council during its five year term.

The decision to include Fianna Fail, whose two members make up the smallest party representation on the council, was taken late on Sunday night after Labour had rejected overtures from Sinn Fein and Independent councillor, Declan Bree to form a Left alliance, and turned instead to Fine Gael.This grouping had initially invited Clr. Bree to join their alliance, which would have given them the required seven votes and would, therefore, have eliminated the need to do business with Fianna Fail.

But when Clr. Bree stood by his conviction that an alliance of the Left was the most desirable alignment from his point of view, the Fine Gael/Labour group then contacted a surprised but delighted Fianna Fail, who could scarcely believe their luck at being included in a power-sharing arrangement after taking an unprecedented electoral pounding.........'

Related Link: http://www.sligochampion.ie/news/deal-done-with-fianna-fil-with-12-hours-to-spare-1778907.html
author by seamus o' dpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 18:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with mick. When Lab told Bree that they intended doing the deal with FG and invited him to join them he should have done so. What did he gain by refusing, other than loosing out on being Mayor and Deputy Mayor and a number of other important positions He had made it clear from the start that he wanted a left alliance of Lab, SF and himself. But when Lab rejected that proposal what was the use in Bree refusing to join with them and FG. Its all very well standing by your convictions and your principles but it doesn’t gain you much.

In 2004 when Bree was a Lab councillor, FF had 4 councillors and Labour 3, giving them a majority. Lab was correct then to deal with FF. If they hadn’t they would have allowed the 3 SF councillors to again do the deal with FF as occurred in 1999.

The difference this time is that Lab had a clear chance and opportunity of joining a majority left group on the Council.

author by Truth Conquerspublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 19:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In From the Cold

A week is a long time in politics, so the saying goes, and nothing could ring more true to the cliche than the outcome of the Borough Council’s annual meeting on Monday last.

Despite getting a real roasting from the electorate in both town and county, Fianna Fail has ended up being part of an alliance that will guarantee the party high profile terms as Mayor and Deputy Mayor over the next five years.

Sitting with just two councillors, the lowest representation ever by Fianna Fail on the Borough Council, the party must be rubbing its hands with glee having managed to become part of an unlikely pact with the Labour Party and Fine Gael.

Months of anti-government sentiments counted for nothing on Monday as the main parties carved up the top positions for the lifetime of the Council.

For months the electorate have had to read and listen to nothing but anti-Fianna Fail speeches from the Fine Gael and Labour Party councillors on the Borough Council, particularly on the cancer services issue.

Whenever a chance was presented, Fine Gael and Labour never let the Government party off the hook with one eye obviously on the Local and European elections.

But all that counted for absolutely nothing when the parties sat down to hammer out a deal amongst themselves in the lead up to Monday’s meeting.

How the Labour Party and Fine Gael councillors could look the two Fianna Fail councillors straight in the eye after all the criticism of the party one will never know.

The electorate of the Borough clearly gave Fianna Fail a clear vote of no confidence by returning just two of its councillors. It was a resounding defeat which the party deserved to take on the chin.

For a party which surly expected to be mere onlookers for the next five years, the outcome of the inter party discussions couldn’t have gone better. Its two councillors should have been sitting in isolation, akin to the dunce’s corner for poor performance, for the lifetime of the present Borough Council.

However; the party’s unlikely saviour has ironically been the opposition parties, Fine Gael and Labour.

Givin the anger of the public with Fianna Fail on a whole range of issues both nationally and locally, it must be difficult for the electorate to now have to see one of its two councillors with the Mayoral chain.

The party with the biggest question to answer must surely be the Labour Party. A supposed party of the left, it has turned to the conservative parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in order to tie up a majority on the Council.

An alliance of the left as suggested by Independent Socialist, Declan Bree looked the most likely outcome after the election results were digested.

Sinn Fein and Labour with three councillors each along with Councillor Bree would have been in the driving seat.

However, it appeared no agreement could be reached and Fianna Fail were quickly brought on board by Fine Gael and Labour in an historic three party alliance.

Had these parties presented such a united front in advance of the election there might have been a different attitude taken by the electorate.

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