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The Candidate Podcast: Richard Boyd Barrett, Peadar Tóibín and Catherine Murphy answer your election questions

We put your questions to those looking for your votes.


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AS WE APPROACH election day on 8 February, the campaign trail is heating up.

The Candidate podcast brings TheJournal.ie readers closer to the party leaders, giving you a chance to find out more about what they stand for before we go to the polls this Saturday.

The Candidate podcast recently sat down with three TDs from some of the smaller parties to chat about a range of issues.

Political Correspondent Christina Finn and Assistant News Editor Laura Byrne sat down with People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett, Aóntu’s Peadar Tóibín and Catherine Murphy of the Social Democrats.

Peadar Tóibín

Peadar Tóibín, a former Sinn Féin party TD, now the leader of Ireland’s newest political party Aontú, told The Candidate podcast that there are ‘a lot of good people in his former party’. 

However, he criticised Sinn Féin for being too centrally controlled from headquarters. 

He said it would be more beneficial for the party to reform the Ard Comhairle of the organisation – adding that he wrote two reform documents on how to do so when he was a party member. Toíbín argued that 51% of the Ard Comhairle should be voted for at the party’s Ard Fheis. 

Sinn Féin shouldn’t get so “offended” by his critiques, he said, stating that such debate about party reform is “not the end of the world”. Equally, he criticised Fianna Fáil for ignoring the party membership decision at the Ard Fheis when it came to abortion, saying politics should be led by the grassroots. 

Aontú, one of the only pro-life political parties in Ireland, acknowledges that it will not be able to reverse the decision of the referendum. On exclusion zones, Tóibín said he has “very little time or tolerance of the methods used by some individuals when it comes to what is happening outside maternity hospitals”.

However, he added that the right to protest should be protected. “Stopping the freedom to protest is a dangerous thing,” the Aontú leader said. 

You can listen to The Candidate podcast with Peadar Tóibín here: 

Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy, joint-leader of the Social Democrats, also popped in to the studio to discuss her party’s policies.

Murphy said she believed this election was a defining moment for Ireland, with the electorate showing a growing frustration with the ‘type’ of economic growth being experienced here.

The Social Democrats candidate said the housing crisis, healthcare and childcare were some of the main issues being discussed on the doorsteps.

In relation to the housing crisis, Murphy said the Land Development Agency would be best placed to be appointed as a project management agency for large-scale home building, with affordability at the heart of that project.

She said her party would push for a better work-life balance for Irish people, particularly young families facing long commutes and struggling to pay childcare costs.

In relation to Sláintecare, Murphy said there was no point in having a cross-party plan for the health service if it was going to be “left on a shelf” and that the funding must be guaranteed to get Sláintecare off the ground.

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Boyd Barrett said his dabbing moves may well make a return to the Dáil if he wins his seat back in Dun Laoghaire. But what will the makeup of the next government be? That was the big question.

He believes this election is a “historic opportunity” for the Left if they could come together, something he says he has been critical of left-wing parties not doing in the past. 

Pessimism has “infected” the Left for a long time, he said, but added that people will be really disillusioned with the left if Sinn Féin props up a Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil government. 

People Before Profit won’t “squander” the public’s vote for the left by supporting either one of those parties, he said. 

You can listen to Richard Boyd Barrett’s chat with The Candidate Podcast here:  

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