“No-one has a mandate to sacrifice the Labour Party and claim it’s for the good of the country” As a member of the Labour Party’s Central Council I have stood alongside our members and our public representatives in defending Labour’s role in government. We know the legacy of an imploded economy and a bankrupted public service that we inherited and what we have had to do to restore stability to our public finances and arrest the collapse in our economy. I look at Labour Ministers, TDs, Senators and Councillors and I see strong, decent and principled women and men who, in the most difficult of times, have strained every sinew to protect and advance the interests of the working people that this party was created to serve. I have also witnessed the anger and abuse directed towards Labour members who have defended this Party in the teeth of populist rage, knowing the pain that government policy has often inflicted on those least able to bear it. We have all stuck by the Party because we recognise the courage it takes to rescue this country from the calamity that corrupt politics and private greed brought upon us. This path is the one we were elected to walk, and we must remain committed to follow it. We cannot, however, allow a crisis of crony capitalism to become an existential crisis for the Labour Party. The decisions we are taking in government will define the political landscape for several generations to come and at the moment we are sleepwalking into a firestorm that threatens to drive Labour to the margins of Irish political life. This is not acceptable. As dangerous as the economic and social situation facing Irish people is, we cannot continue to threaten the very future of the Labour Party as a national party of power. This is why I say that no-one has a mandate to sacrifice the Labour Party and claim it’s for the good of the country!
This Party must offer a vision for the people of Ireland of a renewed, progressive society that will emerge from the awfulness of these years. Over the Summer the Party Leader set out two elements that might comprise that vision. He committed the next government to achieving full employment in Ireland by 2020 and for a renewed Social Contract between Irish citizens and the State. These are laudable aims. Labour is the Party of work and full employment lies at the heart of our ambitions for the people we represent. We are also a republican party in the true, civic sense of the word where all citizens have a stake in the Republic we maintain. But other than that initial announcement nothing further has been heard. This, therefore, is what I propose and is the reason I am running for the Executive Board of the Labour Party: Labour must compose a vision for the people of Ireland that rests on the foundations of our values as a party of the Left. This vision must be emancipatory, it must be driven by a passion for equality and it must be rooted in solidarity. This vision must be built on the knowledge and experience of Labour members and of those aligned with our party and it must be informed by the experiences of our comrades across Europe. The people we represent must know that we are bringing this country to a new progressive future where the sacrifices of the current times are paid back in full. An Ireland built for a free and equal people living in solidarity with each other and with our neighbours. They must know that we will never be satisfied with returning Ireland to the position that prevailed prior to the collapse with patterns of wealth and networks of privilege undisturbed. We must start work on this vision today. The task of creating this Labour Vision must be driven throughout our party in every branch and every section and it must engage those who align themselves with Labour. This is the kind of party that I seek. With your help I can assert the need to build this new Labour Vision at the Partyâ€™s Executive Board.
Manifesto of Desmond O'Toole for election to the Labour Party Executive Board 2013