Barry outlines six reasons to support the SEA Candidates
A statement by the Green Party leadership
in Northern Ireland
Dr John Barry and Kelly Andrews, Co-leaders of the
Green Party 28
There is a media frenzy around the Westminster
contest between Sinn Fein and the SDLP in Foyle.
Fever pitch speculation will accompany the contest
right up to polling day. Media pundits can't do
enough to talk up the significance of Durkan's imminent
demise or McLaughlin's arrival at the top of the
greasy poll. This much is true...
And the pubs are heaving with anticipation, as
voters in Derry look forward to the election count,
confident in the knowledge that the city will never
be the same again after 5 May. Jobs will flow. We'll
be able to pick and choose our favorite arms companies.
The city will be reclaimed from second rate developers
committed to turning our historic city into a clone
of every English high street. And young people will
once again be inspired by the leadership, ethics
and sense of purpose they witness in public life.
Council members will actually follow up decisions
and follow them through to implementation, side
by side with highly motivated Derry City Council
officers. This much we know is far from the truth...
The only certainty following next week's contest
between Irish Republicanism/Nationalism and Irish
Nationalism Lite is that little will change. Local
politicians will continue to take credit for what
goes right; and blame distant civil servants exclusively
for all that goes wrong.
Eamonn McCann and his colleages in the SEA provide
an opportunity for local voters to say enough is
enough....it's time, yes, to call civil servants
to account but also to ask searching questions about
the performance of our local political class who
have overseen Derry's descent into a malaise of
economic under performance, endless nonsense about
'economic taskforces', and incredible aspirations
for a tourism boom in a city where local residents
think twice about walking across the city centre
in the evenings. And all this in the midst of a
continuing crisis of alcohol abuse, fuelled in part
by greedy local publicans who serve up another alcopop
with one hand and glad hand another local politician
with the other.
There are at least six reasons for demonstrating
support for McCann:
Eamonn McCann has been a consistent and incisive
critic of the so called 'peace process'. He has
correctly identified its flaws; and chief among
these is the entrenchment of parallel 'loyalty
schemes' for nationalists and unionists, which
are supposed to pass for politics. Derry will
witness the transformative potential of these
loyalty schemes after the elections i.e. business
Eamonn McCann makes no distinction between nationalist,
unionist and dissenter in his appeal to justice,
empowerment and people-led change for the better,
including the protection of workers and our environment.
Like the Greens, he cherishes a republican vision
that is stripped of any hint of enclosure in sectarian
or nationalist insularity.
While other party leaders in the North equivocated
on George Bush and Tony Blair's decision to use
the local 'peace process' and its champions as
a backdrop to their decision to wage an illegal
war on Iraq and commit an act of vandalism against
international law, Eamonn McCann and the SEA spoke
truth to power. McCann, as always, described the
Hillsborough debacle for what it was.
While Derry City Council, the SDLP and Sinn Fein
have given the appearance of rejecting the city's
association with the international arms trade
(Raytheon), McCann and his colleagues can be trusted
to adopt a consistent, honest and transparent
approach. They can be trusted to honour Derry's
association with civil and human rights, by ensuring
that the city's workers are never again forced
to choose between little or no work, or work that
contributes to imperial ambitions that snuff out
the lives of children, mothers and fathers in
distant lands. With the SEA working within the
City Council, citizens will not have to resort
to Freedom of Information legislation to find
out what local councillors are really saying to
waste incineration consultants and arms traders.
On water rates, there is a great deal of dishonesty
from political parties who were part of the Northern
Ireland Executive and the Assembly. MLAs, including
Durkan, who now talk about resisting additional
water charges allowed the British Treasury to
run rings around them in negotiations on strategic
investment here. McCann will see Gordon Brown
coming before he has left Number 11 because he
understands New Labour and class politics - two
very different things.
Finally, a vote for Eamonn McCann will send a
powerful message across this island. It will tell
the SDLP and their new found friends such as Ray
Burke of Fianna Fail that politics is not and
must not be reduced to party politics. Politics
is for and about everyone. It will tell Sinn Fein
that they have no legitimate claim on republicanism
in Ireland. A vote for McCann will count.
Note to Editor: It is understood that a Ray Burke
will not be released from prison in time to support
Mark Durkan's bid for the Foyle seat.
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