Independent Left is a new grouping of community activists and socialists: workers, students, parents, older and younger alike, who believe that it is possible to create an alternative to a way of thinking and operating which sees privatisation and austerity as the norm.
Formed in January 2019 to contest the local government elections, we subsequently decided to continue the project of creating a new Irish socialist movement, united by a global vision, articulated here.
We believe in the need to create a ‘Liveable City’, cities that prioritises the people and their needs. We need a local government that builds public and affordable housing, uses public spaces and recreational amenities as the beating heart of our communities.
A city that has an affordable and efficient public transport system, while also catering for cyclists and their safety. A city that reduces congestion and emissions.
Local government has a big role to play in halting the effects of climate change but these changes can only come from political pressure both in the council chamber and from people becoming vocal and organised in our communities.
A Liveable City is a vision that begins at a grassroots community level, while being implemented by local government and beyond, it is a vision that is inclusive of everyone in our community and welcomes those looking to make Dublin their home from near or far and for those seeking refuge.
A Liveable City is not a radical vision, but is, in fact common sense, it seeks to ensure that Dublin and all its people can live, work, grow, play and learn in a secure healthy sustainable and inclusive environment.
In the short-term Independent Left had an impact in the local government elections 24 May 2019 and an energetic and positive general election campaign in Dublin Bay North for the general election of 8 February 2020. In the medium-to-longer-term we hope to play our part in the emergence of an inclusive, respectful, honest and united left in Ireland. There will be opportunities in the times ahead for the left to rise to the challenge of creating a movement capable of really changing Irish society for the better.
We are genuinely interested in working with anyone who believes that Ireland, and indeed the world, is in need of radical change: the threat of climate change, and the income and wealth inequalities at present are so stark that a tiny rich elite live insulated lives of luxury whilst the rest of us struggle to make ends meet.
Our Independent Left group is open to all: we are currently developing policies on a range of voter issues such as a local climate change action plan, child care, sewage treatment plants, housing for the homeless and a spate of gangland killings. We have a vision for Local Government called the Liveable City. There has been a lot of interest in our project so these are exciting times.
If you are interested in getting involved with our group, send us a message.
Independent Left in Dublin Bay North General Election 2020
In General Election 2020, Councillor John Lyons stood for Independent Left in Dublin Bay North. You can read about the campaign and the election results here. His manifesto was as follows:
Dublin: A Tale of Two Cities
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
In the 2020 election, Fine Gael (and their ‘independent’ allies) will tell us Ireland is booming. To the landlords, chief executives, and vulture funds, they’re right. Ireland is booming. For the rest of us life is a constant struggle, with the health, education and transport services we urgently need being utterly neglected.
We see a 300% rise in homelessness and a desperate need for affordable homes in Dublin, but instead we get high-yield accommodation like hotels and student shoeboxes: developments that make the quickest and biggest profit.
The combined wealth of the richest 300 people in Ireland is €87 Billion, while the entire country’s budget is €80 billion. The richest 10% of people in Ireland own over half of the country’s wealth and 90% of all land, while high rents, mortgages, childcare, car insurance, health and energy bills eat away at our salaries.
A properly resourced public service would lighten the load, but the rich don’t use it, so hospital beds are closed, doctors and nurses overworked, and we’re told that the service doesn’t work because it’s public, not because it’s neglected.
Independent Left believes that a fossil-fuelled economy is not viable, either financially nor environmentally. We need to learn the lessons of the increasing number of tragic environmental disasters and act now against the biggest polluters while diversifying the animal farming sector. We cannot wait any longer. Fine Gael’s Climate Action Plan is just a green cloak thrown over the same pro-market policies that have created the crisis.
We believe that tackling global warming in a socially just way means actively campaigning for environmentally-sustainable housing and planning; for a transportation system that moves people not petrol and an improved quality of life for workers (a four-day work-week) with powerful, state-led programmes to increase Ireland’s wind and solar energy capacities.
Planning: The planning system has been radically altered in favour of developers and speculators over communities. A transparent system that is accountable to local communities is vital for Dublin.
Housing: Public land to be used by local authorities to build directly the high quality, energy-rated public and affordable housing for all.
Health: Implement the Sláintecare Report in full and create a single-tier, universally free and comprehensive public health system. Investment in mental health, home help care and the reduction of the waiting times for surgeries, procedures and assessments.
Workers’ Rights: Abolish the 1990 Industrial Relations Act and replace it with a Fair Employment Act that guarantees:
(1) The rights of union access to all workers;
(2) The right to union recognition;
(3) Full Collective Bargaining rights.
Education: Free, universal education from pre-school to university with meaningful supports for all who need them. State education should be inclusive and secular.
Childcare: Increase the number of community childcare providers as part of the transition to a national not-for-profit system of affordable childcare, staffed by highly-trained and well-paid workers.
Transportation: Increase the Dublin Bus fleet, move to free public transportation in the city, ring-fence 20% of the transportation budget for safe pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Social Inequality and Neglect: It is clear government politicians don’t care about our communities, yet our neglected community-based youth projects, sports clubs and other services have been an inspiration. They are the answer to the anti-social behaviour that arises in a context of alienation and discontent.
Enough wealth exists in Ireland to eradicate the poverty and deprivation that results in criminality and social exclusion.
Access for all: People with disabilities are experiencing record unemployment. Funding must be put in place to adapt workplaces and communities so that everyone can participate equally.
Introduce measures to protect people with disabilities who suffer more physical, verbal and sexual abuse and hate crimes than any other group in society
Support the LGBTQi community in their fight for full equality.
Anti-Imperialism and Anti-Racism: Every human being deserves a life of dignity, respect and fulfilment yet imperialist wars and economic exploitation has today created the largest number of refugees in history. Ireland must close Shannon Airport to US troops and fulfil its international obligations to provide a safe place for people fleeing poverty, oppression and war.
What Would A Number 1 Vote for Cllr John Lyons Mean?
I had the honour of representing people from Beaumont-Donaghmede on Dublin City Council and currently am a councillor for Artane-Whitehall.
I have a proven track record of campaigning for housing, better public services and the environment.
If elected, I pledge to take only the average industrial wage.
Dublin Bay North candidates at the 2019 local elections:
Councillor John Lyons stood for Independent Left in the Artane/Whitehall LEA
Elected to the Beaumont-Donaghmede local electoral area in 2014, Councillor John Lyons won the third seat in the Local Elections on 24 May 2019 as an Independent Left candidate in the new constituency of Artane-Whiltehall. As John explained in his campaign: ‘I have been involved in community activism for more than ten years, have represented the people of Beaumont-Donaghmede over the past five years as a Dublin City Councillor and now look forward to meeting with the people of the people of Artane, Beaumont, Clonshaugh, Coolock, Darndale, Kilmore West, Santry and Whitehall as I run for re-election and beyond.
John Lyons, councillor
‘My family have lived on Lorcan Road for more than fifty years, my education began with Larkhill BNS and St Aidan’s CBS, and my football career began (and ended) with St Kevin’s Boys FC and Whitehall Colmchille.
‘I believe we have a democratic deficit at local government level in the city: too much decision-making power rests with the unelected city council officials and not enough with the elected representatives of the people of Dublin.’
Councillor John Lyons Independent Left speaking at DCU on how the Dublin City Manager ignores elected councillors in favour of developers.
‘A lack of real engagement and consultation with and in communities by Dublin City Council, as well as the diminished quality of council services as a result of a decade of budget and staff cuts, has resulted in many people being frustrated by Dublin City Council.John Lyons Independent Left councillor
‘I do believe, however, that Dublin City Council, if properly funded and fully engaged, could have a hugely positive impact upon the lives of people in their communities, from improved street sweeping, tree-pruning, street and light maintenance, to the upkeep of children’s playgrounds, better access to and increased safety of public parks, to a wider availability of community meeting spaces and sports facilities, as well as addressing the biggest problem facing many families, couples and individuals in the city, the provision of public and affordable housing.
‘The people of Dublin deserve nothing but the best when it comes to the public services provided by their city council. And if re-elected, I promise to work with you to make this happen.’
Niamh McDonald stood for Independent Left in Donaghmede LEA
Niamh McDonald ran for Independent Left in the local elections of 24 May in the Donaghmede constituency and polled nearly 600 first preferences. Here is what she said in her campaign:
‘I am running to be your councillor in the Donaghmede local election area on 24 May 2019. I am a single parent to a young boy, I understand what it is to struggle on a daily basis. I believe I can bring the voice of the ordinary person to the council chamber.Niamh McDonald Independent Left
‘Local councillors make crucial decisions that affect the lives of local communities, however our council doesn’t represent the diversity of people that make up our city. Most elected representatives are self-employed, over 45 and male. Young people, women and salaried employees are under-represented on local councils.
‘I had the honour of being elected chair of the Dublin Bay North Repeal Campaign, which achieved one of the highest YES votes (74.69%) in the country. As a socialist activist and grassroots campaigner over a decade, I have organised campaigns against the property tax and water charges. I was chair of the Save Moore Street 2016 Campaign. And I have been involved in various campaigns including helping coordinate the Apollo House Occupation.’
Niamh McDonald, Independent Left candidate giving her support to the recent nurses’ strike.