THE FORMER HEAD of Siptu, Jack O’Connor, has been selected to represent Labour in the next election.
The former Siptu boss has been selected to run in the Wicklow constituency.
At a selection convention in the Glenview Hotel this evening, O’Connor said instead of returning to the “cynical practice of buying people’s votes with their own money” the government should be sorting out the nation’s problems, like health and housing.
O’Connor criticised hints by those in government that tax cuts are on the way, stating that more money is needed to improve public services.
“We have to recognise the elephant in the room. We cannot meet the needs of our people with one of the lowest levels of public investment in Europe. In these circumstances tax cutting amounts to nothing more than cynical electoral con-artistry, because in the absence of decent public services they ultimately cost people more,” he said.
Signing up O’Connor is the Labour Party’s latest bid at reinvention. It needs new, fresh faces if it is to boost its numbers in the next election.
In 2016, the party suffered from its worst general election in its history, five years after its best ever. It saw its representation in the national parliament fall from 37 to 7 seats – an 81% collapse.
Tonight, O’Connor acknowledged that Labour had made mistakes in the past, stating:
While the Labour Party made mistakes in the last government, we ensured that we regained our economic sovereignty and set in train a dramatic economic recovery, while preserving the core infrastructure of our social welfare system, avoiding a sell off of state assets and preserving as well as enhancing our employment protection legislation.
He also used his selection as an opportunity to call for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
“It is not about imposing our view on others. It is about accommodating the diversity of views on this extremely complex and sensitive issue,” he concluded.
O’Connor was the general president of the Ireland’s largest trade union for over 14 years. He’s been a member of the union since he was 16 years old.