THE failure of the anti-austerity lobby in Donegal to form a united alliance has prompted a Gortahork man to pull out of running in the local elections.
Owen Curran, had confirmed before Christmas his intention to run in the May elections. However, he now feels this is not possible as he would be the only candidate for the Anti Austerity Alliance in Donegal or as an independent and this was simply not viable.
He issued the following detailed statement on Monday:
“Having previously declared my intention to contest a seat in the upcoming County Council elections , I wish to inform people that I know longer intend to do so. I also wish to explain the reasons behind my change of mind.
“I have to be honest and admit to having doubts about my personal ability to represent people in the manner they may expect, if elected. I have considered would I have the time needed, resources or legal access that may be required to the democratic mandate ,if given to me. I also recognise that there are limitations in what an individual member could do to effect the change what I believe is required within the council..
“Family and my uncertain employment situation also played an important part in my decision. It is my observation over the last while that electoral politics is set up in such a way as to make it very hard for ordinary people to participate in. This is certainly the case for anyone who does not have the financial or structural support behind them. Quite frankly people who work for a living , or struggle with unemployment while trying to keep their homes or families , do not have the money or time needed to engage fully in the political system as structured at present.
“While opinions polls show there is an anti-political party mood in society at the moment the evidence is that the sitting councillors and the election hopefuls’ of those parties remain wedded to the policies of austerity. People should consider though , are they going to be any better served by electing a selection of Independents who hold a diverse range of political views.
“Bear in mind many of those Independents have served time in the various political parties themselves. Politicians from whatever party or background, carrying on with the politics as usual ,telling us how bad unemployment , emigration , unjust taxes and cut-backs are for us as they remain insulated from austerity will not suffice anymore.
“In fact , it is the realisation that most politicians don’t serve the people they claim to represent that the need for a real political alternative is becoming obvious to many people affected by this economic crisis. This was the reason I had intended to stand was as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance which is made up of some of those who were active in the Campaign against the Home and Water Taxes. While this group didn’t have the support of everyone within the campaign ,I believed this was a logical step for people who had put huge efforts into campaigning against those taxes and austerity in general.
“The campaign after all had the ability to attract thousands of people to meetings and protests, and to get people to engage and organise on issues that affected them. Instead , a number of those involved in the campaign advocated non-participation in elections- not by themselves as they had every intention of standing- but by the campaign. What they were really advocating that those who were involved in the grassroots work of campaigning and organizing should keep out of electoral politics and leave it to ‘political people’ ie themselves.
“Imagine the boost that that it would’ ve been for the people of Donegal who are suffering under the austerity policies of this government and the last , if they could now go out and try to get candidates elected in each area on an agreed anti-austerity platform , who would then be genuine fighters for ordinary people within the council.
Those elected would be working together, sharing resources and the workload , and would be accountable to those who elected them .
“This would send out a powerful message against austerity in general , and to others in the council chamber that the people of Donegal had now got reps within the chamber who would ensure their issues were taken seriously , and be able to give voice to political ideas that would really make a difference.
Unfortunately we could not come to agreement to become part of such an alliance. What we have instead coming out of the campaign is a number of independent candidates ,who may or may not be able to work together , and a few from People before Profit , who had a minimal input into the campaign in Donegal.
“The chance was there to run candidates with an agreed anti austerity agenda in each electoral area. Those candidates could have then went on to help bring about change within the council , and to begin to fight to establish the proper political representation that the long suffering people of Donegal are entitled to.
“This could also have been the start of building what is really needed , both here in Donegal and elsewhere , an alternative political movement which puts the interests of the majority of ordinary people before the interests of the bankers , the wealthy elites and their political cronies.
“I regretthat we who were active in the campaign were unable to grasp the opportunity at this time . I felt for me to carry on and contest the election as the only candidate for the Anti Austerity Alliance in Donegal or as an independent was not viable ,for the reasons earlier outlined.I wish to finish off by thanking those who offered their help in any way in the election campaign,”