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On the fringes: The smaller parties looking for your vote

It’s not all establishment parties you know.

Image: Ballot Box via Shutterstock

IN CASE YOU missed it, Ireland goes to the polls on 23 May.

While many will grumble that the options being served up on local and European election ballots are more of the same, this year will see a number of smaller parties attempt to win votes.

Here, we look at some of those who have already declared.

Anti Austerity Alliance

The AAA is the evolution of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, which itself was an offshoot of the Socialist Party and other left-wing organisations.

Though the AAA features a number of candidates who ran under, and were elected the Socialist Party banner, there is no mention of the Socialist Party on their website.

In addition to long-time politicians, the group is experimenting with running “real people”, who are mostly community activists or people who were inspired to run in reaction to the Property Tax and incoming water charges.

Despite the freshness of their candidates, their stated aims are combative.

“Next May gives us a chance to wipe out the parties enforcing austerity, to replace their councillors with genuine fighters for ordinary people and to send a powerful
message against the disastrous policy of austerity in general.

Notable Candidates: Sitting councillors Ruth Coppinger, Matt Waine, Tony Kelleher, Eugene Coppinger, Ciaran McKenna and Mick Barry

Direct Democracy Ireland

After garnering 570 votes for their three candidates in the 2011 general election, Direct Democracy scored a major upset in the Meath East by-election.

Party leader Ben Gilroy managed to usurp the Labour candidate and finish in fourth in the race. That result took many of the headlines, despite Fine Gael’s Helen McEntee claiming the victory.

Since then, the party has been in the headlines, but not always for the right reasons.

The party says that it’s goals include stopping payments to bondholders, reducing mortgages, abolishing household taxes and protect services.

“[We aim] to provide the people of Ireland an alternative to the current model of governance which will ensure that election promises are kept and that the interests of the people of Ireland are the deciding factor in all decisions of the government.”

Notable probable candidates: Ben Gilroy, Raymond Whitehead

National Independent Party

On the other side of the political fence is the newly-formed National Independent Party.

Launched this month, the party say they want to “reclaim the current political landscape for the betterment and protection of Irish Citizens”.

They call their stance “forward” as opposed to right or left. They say that they have 120 members, aiming to reach 300 before the 2016 election. Although they have no stated aims to run this year, they may look at 2014 as a dry run for 2016.

They advocate leaving the Euro, stopping economic migration and a “balanced immigration policy”. They are led by Martin Critten, a former company director.

“We must face up to the fact that if we wish to solve our problems we must do it for ourselves. No one else will solve them for us. We must take full responsibility for our own future.”

Notable candidates: None yet.

Éirígí

Seven years after removing itself from Sinn Féin, the socialist republican party Éirígí faces its second local election this year.

It does so with two sitting councillors, Dublin City Council’s Louise Minihan and John Dwyer who sits on New Ross Town Council in Wexford. Minihan made headlines in 2010 when she threw red paint over then Health Minister Mary Harney.

Minihan had left Sinn Féin for Éirígí in 2009.

Their aims include fighting austerity, protecting the Irish language, the removal of Britain from Northern Ireland and a unification of the country.

Notable potential candidates: Louise Minihan, John Dwyer.

Read: 23 May the big day for wannabe councillors and MEPS

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