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Social Democrats

'That's the plan': Murphy and Shortall to lead Soc Dems into the next general election as co-leaders

The party think-in is taking place in Dublin today.

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS plan to have two leaders at the helm of the party in the next general election. 

At the party think-in in Dublin today, co-leader of the SocDems Catherine Murphy was asked if they would continue to have two leaders into the future. 

“That’s the plan at the moment,” she said.

Murphy added that it is not “fixed in stone” that there will always be a pair of co-leaders. 

“Who would have thought that there was going to be the energy crisis that we’re seeing now – life is always something that you don’t determine into the future,” she quipped. 

“That is something that can change, and in fact our own constitution for the party allows that to change. We want what works,” she said. 

“I think it’s been quite useful for us to be able to share the burden,” said Murphy, adding that it was “no small feat” to get a new party off the ground.

She said the party was started at a time when they had no supports and now the two co-leaders are “ambitious about growing [it]“.

In 2021, a letter drafted and signed by 16 people in total, including two party councillors – Cat O’Driscoll and Chris Pender – called on the Social Democrats National Executive to call a leadership contest.

In response, a statement from the Social Democrats parliamentary party said it is “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. 

Budget plans

Speaking about the upcoming budget, Shortall called for an urgent intervention on cost-of-living, similar to what was rolled out during the pandemic.

“We need to introduce measures which will get cash payments to people on low and middle incomes. And we believe that there’s a lot to learn from the kind of approach taken in Covid,” she said. 

The templates are in place with the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Covid Restriction Support Scheme, she said, adding that there is huge potential for using those schemes to get cash payments directly to families. 

The party is also calling for an €15 on fuel allowance and increased eligibility along with more working family help. 

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