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Sinn Féin wants a vote pact with other left-wing parties - but not everyone's up for it

The party has confirmed it will join left-wing parties and independents in a voting transfer pact.

Updated 5.33pm 

SINN FÉIN HAS confirmed it is signing up to a policy document produced by the Right2Change movement in the hope of establishing a voting transfer pact with other left-leaning parties and independents.

Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald confirmed it is signing up to the pact and said the party will be asking its supporters to pass on their second and third preference votes to candidates who have also signed up to the document.

She told reporters at Leinster House today: “This policy provides a space for political parties or progressive independent candidates, it provides a platform for fighting the next election.

It doesn’t replace any political party’s manifesto but it does represent those points of commonality where we agree and represents a real opportunity in the forthcoming election to maximise the number of progressive TDs elected to the Dáil and the potential for an alternative government.

http://vine.co/v/eY53hq65Ktp

The Right2Change document‘s proposals include the abolition of water charges, changes to EU fiscal rules, the elimination of the deficit by 2020, prioritising social and economic investment including doubling public investment and higher taxes on wealth.

Other parties and interested candidates have until Friday to sign up to the document.

Unclear

The Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit, who are running as AAA-PBP in the next election, are already part of the Right2Change movement.

However it’s unclear if candidates for these parties will tell their supporters to transfer to Sinn Féin.

This evening Social Democrat senator James Heffernan, who is running for the Dáil in Limerick and has been involved in Right2Change, said he would not be in favour of a vote transfer pact.

Heffernan has previously been heavily critical of Sinn Féin and told TheJournal.ie:

I’m asking the people in Limerick to give me and the SocDems the number one. What they do with their transfer is their own business.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Right2Change campaign spokesperson David Gibney said a meeting was held last week with trade unions involved in the Right2Water campaign, as well as Sinn Féin, independents, the Anti-Austerity Alliance, Social Democrats and People Before Profit. 

We asked them to go away and think for two weeks and give us an answer by Friday the 30th about whether they would be willing to form a progressive government based on this platform, if the numbers allowed after the next election

“At the core of it is, we began this process concentrating on policy instead of parties, trying to get people to think about human rights-based policies and stop thinking about parties, personalities and egos and start thinking about what the people actually want in terms of policies,” said Gibney.

He said the policy document has come about following consultations with communities across Ireland, as well as political parties and trade unions, both inside the Right2Water tent and outside it.

He said the policy principles have a broad acceptance from the public.

‘Positive Response’

The response so far has been positive, said Gibney, with independent TDs such as Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and Joan Collins voicing their interest in the pact.

It’s reported that the Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has said he will not ask supporters to transfer to Sinn Féin.

He did not respond to a request for comment today but has previously told TheJournal.ie that AAA-PBP would be prepared to back a Sinn Féin-led government.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

McDonald said she did not know what other parties or individuals would decide, but said Sinn Féin was pursuing the pact in the belief that there is an alternative to the current government.

“Our call is based on a genuine belief that an alternative is possible, a genuine belief that we need rid of Fine Gael and the Labour party and we do not want Fianna Fáil back in office.

A genuine believe that we need political change and if you believe that you have to be prepared to act to make that happen.

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Donnelly, who is running in Dublin West, said he would encourage his supporters to give their second preferences to Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger.

However, he admitted he did not know if Coppinger would reciprocate, saying: ”I don’t know, that’s a decision for Ruth to make.”

Gibney said he would be disappointed if anyone said they would not be able to work together, saying:

It’s not about personalities, it’s about policies that people want.

A meeting is due to be held with groups this weekend where there will be discussions held as to how the groups can work together to implement the changes.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Read: Young Fine Gael silent on sudden and mysterious departure of president>

Read: Is Labour finished?>

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