SOCIALIST PARTY TD Joe Higgins has suggested that any continued political support to independent TD Mick Wallace shown by Clare Daly could undermine the United Left Alliance’s hopes of becoming a full political movement.
Higgins this morning said Daly and the party leadership had been in “intense discussions” to resolve their differing opinions about Daly’s stance on Wallace’s affairs before breaking for summer holidays – but that Daly had “unilaterally” resigned from the party before these could continue.
Announcing her resignation on Saturday, the Socialist Party claimed Daly had “publicly vouched for Mick Wallace and his fitness for office, intervened on his behalf and consciously and consistently sat beside him in the Dáil”.
This, it said, “amounted to public political endorsement” – which, coupled with Daly’s apparent preference to “politically orientate to the Independent members of the Technical Group” rather than the other four ULA TDs, was undermining the ULA’s goal to build a principled left-wing coalition.
Higgins warned that this could be undermined if Daly – who says she remains committed to building the ULA as an alternative – was to continue supporting Wallace int he same way.
“That would pose a problem for a great many people – a majority of people inside the United Left Alliance, which has clearly stated already that it is not in favour of promoting, politically, the case of Mick Wallace in any way,” Higgins told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
The point is that the ULA, whcioh is trying to build a principled left alternative, would have to have a very clear line of demarcation on issues such as tax evasion.
Higgins also confirmed that the Socialist Party intends to forfeit half of its ‘leaders’ allowance’ funding from the Exchequer to reflect its smaller Dáil population – potentially opening a further rift with Daly, who had asked for an amount to be redistributed to her.
“Establishment parties, when they have lost deputies in the past, have kept the full allowance as they are entitled to do by law,” Higgins said. “The Socialist Party is not going to do that.”
He said the party would be contacting the Department of Finance to have half of its €143,000 annual funding withheld. “The remainder will stay with the Department of Finance,” he said.