Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.07 21 Feb 2020


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Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin says he will work to give everyone in Ireland a legal right to trade union membership if he becomes leader of the party.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin is running against Tipperary TD Alan Kelly for the position.

Launching his campaign in Dublin this afternoon, he said Labour has “always been Ireland’s party of progressive change” but admitted members have been struggling to get their message across to voters.

“They are hamstrung, I think, by a sense that the public have about our party,” he said.

“Now, we are either part of the establishment or we are part of the change.

“I want the Labour Party that I will lead to be part of that change. I want people to look at the Labour Party and say, ‘they are on my side.’

He said his leadership would deliver a bold policy agenda aimed at bringing an end to the “failed market-driven polices for health, housing and childcare.”

He also called on the party to agitate for a series of ‘people’s budgets’ that “go beyond economic performance to deliver sustainable economic equality.”

“As part of that progressive economic change, as Labour leader, I will legislate to enshrine in law the right for all workers to be represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining,” he said.

He said that if the idea is deemed unconstitutional he would try and build movement in support of a referendum to give people the right to be represented by a trade union.

“This will demand hard work and courage, just like when we achieved marriage equality and repealed the Eighth Amendment,” he said.

“Labour will lead the argument with our colleagues in the trade union movement – and we will win.”

There is a four-week campaign ahead for the party, with members due to vote for their new leader at the beginning of April.


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